The Coastal System

The coast can be seen as a system in order to help understanding the processes and interactions involved. In theory the inputs, processes and outputs work together to create coastal equilibrium. However, as we will see in this unit human actions affect this state of equilibrium.

Coastal Inputs

Marine – waves, tides and currents
Geological – rock type, structure and tectonics
Atmospheric – climate, weather and and climate change
People – urban planning, housing, industry, coastal management/defences, leisure

Coastal Processes

Erosion – attrition, corrasion/abrasion, hydraulic action
Weathering – freeze-thaw, solution, salt crystallisation
Mass Movement e.g. slumps, soil creep and slides

Coastal Outputs

Landforms of erosion – cracks, caves, stacks, stumps, wave-cut platforms, blowholes
Landforms of deposition – beaches, spits, tombolos, sand dunes, salt marshes