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Shoreline erosion

Some coasts are created by shoreline erosion. Waves pound the shore with water William, sand and even rocks Larry. This can undercut cliffs causing large sections of rock and sediment Larry to fall into the water.

Waves are undercutting the cliffs along the shore of Lake Erie, Ontario, Canada.  The sediment that falls into the lake gets washed away.  Can you see the white field drain sticking out of the cliff? © Abigail Burt

Sea stacks form when waves bend around a headland of rock that juts out into the sea. First a cave is eroded into the side of the headland. This gradually gets bigger until an arch forms. Once the top of the arch collapses an isolated pillar or stack is left behind.

This sea arch has been eroded by waves.  Durdle Door, Dorset, England. © Abigail Burt Sea stacks form when arches collapse.  These sea stacks are called the 12 Apostles.  Port Campbell National Park, Victoria, Australia. © Amanda Matson

Different rock types are eroded at different rates. Soft rocks will be worn away much faster than harder rocks.

These strips of hard rock were left behind after softer rocks eroded away.  Bude, Cornwall, England. © Abigail Burt


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