Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2005 Edition
| Editors: Maurice L. Schwartz

Erosion Processes

  • Michael R. Rampino
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-3880-1_139

Erosional processes along coastlines include: (1) the direct effects of hydraulic action, wedging, and cavitation by waves; (2) abrasion (corrasion), using sand, gravel, and larger rock fragments as tools; (3) attrition of the rock particles themselves during this abrasive action; (4) salt weathering or fretting; (5) erosion by organisms (bioerosion); and (6) chemical attack, or corrosion, which weakens the rocks and accelerates erosion. The rates of erosion by these processes are a function of the exposure of a coast to wave attack (wave energy and length of time of exposure), and the resistance of the materials to erosion and weathering.

Waves are the most dominant force causing coastal erosion. Ocean waves typically break at depths that range from about 1 to 1.5 times wave height. Because waves are seldom more than 6 m high, the depth of vigorous erosion by surf is usually limited to from 6 to 9 m below sea level. This theoretical limit is confirmed by observations of breakwaters...

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Cross-references

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    BioerosionGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cliffs, Erosion RatesGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cliffs, Lithology versus Erosion RatesGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ice-Bordered CoastsGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
    Rock Coast ProcessesGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Shore PlatformsGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wave-Dominated CoastsGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
  10. 10.
    Weathering in the Coastal zoneGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

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  • Michael R. Rampino

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