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Coastal Deposition

The features that are found on a coastline, and the processes which form them, is one of the topics looked at in GCSE Geography. This quiz looks specifically at those features which are caused by coastal deposition.

Is there anything more enjoyable than a day at the beach? Golden sand for lying on, the sea for swimming and surfing, rocky headlands that can be walked along, bays that are sheltered from the worst of the wind and waves, and tall, towering cliffs with rocky shingle beaches below and caves carved into their faces.

All these are beautiful features of a coastline, but have you ever thought about what caused them - specifically, how stuff is deposited on the coastal margins? Next time you’re walking on the shore you’ll be able to understand why the waves make two different noises as they wash up the beach and then wash down again, and what a reef actually is. Deposition can create marshes and coastal barriers as well as sand and shingle beaches.

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Coastal deposition is exactly what it sounds like - the laying down (or deposition) of material at the coastline by the sea. That material can come from rivers eroding material off the land and sometimes material lost in one country can wash up in another. Various management techniques exist to help encourage deposition at the coast, normally to help protect property and infrastructure, but further erosion elsewhere along the coast can be caused by this forced deposition. Deposition may also be a problem. The silting up of shipping channels will require the local authorities to dredge them using specially designed ships and machinery. Sand dunes, sand banks and other features may become colonised by plants that can stabilise their structures and lead eventually to the creation of new land.

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  1. What is a tombolo?
    One of the key examples of a tombolo is Chesil Beach, connecting the Isle of Portland to the Dorset coastline
  2. Some beaches are protected by an offshore landform known as a reef. Which of the following is not a way reefs may form?
    After an arch collapses a stack is left behind. The formal definition of a reef is a ridge of rock, shingle or sand at or just below the surface of the water
  3. Backwash is when a wave washes back down the beach. What do we call the opposite, when the wave washes up the beach?
    Swash is the period after the wave has broken and it washes up the beach. Swash normally acts at an angle to the beach rather than straight up and down. Swash and backwash are the noises you hear as the water runs up and down the beach
  4. What is longshore drift?
    On Holderness coast most of the eroded material is carred out to sea, but some is moved south via longshore drift to form Spurn Head
  5. In terms of backwash and swash, when is deposition most likely to occur?
    When swash is stronger than backwash material is carried up the beach but not carried back down, leading to deposition
  6. Which of the following is not a method of coastal transportation?
    Both coastal and river transport methods are the same - Solution, Suspension, Saltation and Traction
  7. What sort of shape should a constructive wave have?
    These long low waves are created in calm weather and will deposit material on the coast
  8. Depostion occurs when waves lose energy and deposit their load. Which of the following is not another reason that deposition is likely to occur?
    When waves enter a cove or bay they are more likely to slow in the shelter and drop their load rather than the other way round
  9. Constructive waves are most likely to occur on which sort of beach?
    Constructive waves occur when the swash is stronger than the backwash. A steep beach will have a strong backwash as water runs faster down steeper slopes. Steep cliffs are normally exposed with little material to protect them
  10. Spurn Head is a famous coastal spit across the mouth of the River Humber. The material that has built up the spit is the result of longshore drift. Why has this spit formed at this location?
    A tip to remember is that material is deposited when energy levels drop, in this case because the coast in effect vanishes at the wide mouth of the Humber

Author: Ruth M

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