Ice-Bordered Coasts

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Since the publication of The Encyclopedia of Beaches and Coastal Environments (Schwartz, 1982), the term “cold coasts” has come into common use even serving as a chapter title in the book Coastal Problems. The authors, Viles and Spencer (1995), use the 1961 definition by R.L. Nichols that cold coasts “… are those where there is or has been abundant sea ice, lake ice, water-terminating glaciers or deeply frozen ground” (p. 254). The advantage of such a definition is that it avoids the latitudinal restriction placed by such locational designators as Arctic and Antarctic and thus can accommodate lower latitudinal examples including the tidewater glaciers of Chile and southern Alaska and the presence of sea ice along the Labrador and Hokkaido coasts or even the coast of Spain during the Pleistocene.

This entry treats two of these types of cold coasts: namely, waterterminating glaciers and sea ice. Glacial ice is land-derived and tends to be perennial; sea ice, on the ...