In this section you'll revise:

  1. How to identify Coastal Features on a map
  2. How to explain the formation of both erosional and depositional Coastal Features

Recognising Coastal Features on a Map

In this clip you'll revise how to recognise the basic features of a coastal landscape.

Concordant Bays

Concordant Bays run in 'concord' or agreement with the coast line. This means the layers of rock that form them run parallel to the coast line. Watch this clip to understand further.


Discordant Bays and Headlands

These are bays that involve layers of rock running in 'discord' with the coast line. This means the bands of rock will be 90º to the coastline (at least in a text-book example this would be the case). Watch this clip to see more detail.


Arches, Stacks and Stumps

In this clip you'll see how I would lay this in a diagram. Remember to use enough space, that you don't have time for coloured pencils and to give thought to where your labels are going to go or if you prefer to write a paragraph underneath the diagram.


Wave Cut Notches and Platforms

This is a rarer question. Here is an appropriate response:

Wave pounding, where the physical weight of the water smashes the rocks apart and hydraulic action where bubbles of gas are forced into weaknesses within the rock erode the rock. Abrasion where rocks within the waves scrape at the cliff on impact also plays a part. In an area between the low tide mark and the high tide mark these processes wear away the rock in a cliff face creating along 'notch' at the sea level. As the unsupported weight of cliff rock collapses the cliff retreats leaving behind it a flat area of rock known as a wave-cut platform.

Longshore Drift and Beaches

This depositional process is important and you should try to understand it. Being able to give a reasonable written description of the process is enough. Use the diagram and five labels below to give a detailed account of this process:

  1. The waves attack at and angle defined by on shore winds.
  2. The waves carry sand and shingle along the beach.
  3. The swash carries material in the direction the waves are moving.
  4. The back wash carries material back out to sea at 90º to the coast.
  5. This process causes beaches to be washed away and is known as longshore drift.

Spits and Sandbars

You'll need to have understood 'longshore drift' to be able to explain these features.