Study Guide

Coastal Landforms and their Management


The coastal system exists in a state of dynamic equilibrium.  Coastal processes, geology and sea level change interact and play a role in the development of distinct landforms.  Human activity at the coast leads to a need for management.  These management strategies can be evaluated according to their level of success.  The case study area will be Dorset and the South Coast (The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site).

Section 1 - The Coastal System

1.      The coastal system comprises inputs, outputs, processes and stores.  List them.

2.      Littoral Cells (sediment cells) exist along coastlines.  What processes control the movement of sediment at the coast?  (Christchurch Bay)

3.      Define the term dynamic equilibrium.

4.      What are the characteristics of different types of wave?  How do these vary over time and space (temporal and spatial variations)?

Section 2 - Coastal Processes and Landforms

1.      Define the terms weathering, erosion, transport and deposition.

2.      What factors influence the rates of weathering and erosion at the coast?

3.      Describe the processes of transport and deposition in the coastal zone.

4.      Explain the development of landforms of coastal erosion. (Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Old Harry, Isle of Purbeck)

5.      Explain the development of landforms of coastal deposition. (Chesil Beach, Studland)

6.      What impact does sea level rise have on coastal erosion and deposition? (The Solent)

Section 3 - Coastlines and Geology

1.      How does geology influence the development of coastal landforms? (Jurassic Coast)

2.      Define the terms lithology and geological structure.

3.      How does rock type (lithology) control the development of coastal landforms?

4.      How does rock structure (arrangement) control the development of coastal landforms?

Section 4 Coastal Management

1.      How do coastal processes impact on human activity? (Cliff erosion at Barton-on-Sea)

2.      How do human activities impact on coastal processes?  (Dune erosion at Studland)

3.      Why do coastal areas need to be managed?

4.      What are the different methods used to manage coastal processes and human activities at the coast? (Coastal engineering, SSSIs, RAMSAR sites, National Parks)

5.      Evaluate the success of these strategies?


Key Terms.   lithology,   structure,   constructive waves,   fetch,   swash,   back wash,   destructive waves,   prevailing wind direction,   hydraulic action,   abrasion,   attrition,   solution,   wave pounding,   littoral cell,   rotational slip,   eustatic/isostatic adjustment,   ria,   fjord,   hard or soft engineering,   stack,   spit,   estuary,   wave refraction,   storm/swell waves,   beach profile,   concordant/discordant coastlines,   SSSI,    RAMSAR site,   Jurassic Coast.