Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Pacific Ocean Islands, Coastal Geomorphology

  • Patrick D. Nunn
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48657-4_239-2

Scattered across one-third of the earth’s surface, Pacific Islands have some of the world’s most fascinating landscapes (Menard 1986; Nunn 1994, 1998a). Yet notwithstanding their common attributes (comparatively small size, remoteness, young geology, topographic and structural simplicity, simple climate, and soil patterns) it would be wrong to suppose that Pacific Island coastal landforms are uniform within this vast area.

Much variation stems from latitude. Tropical Pacific Islands within the belt of tropical cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons) generally have coastal landforms which manifest the occasional impact of high-energy waves and winds while those outside this belt may not.

The primary cause of coastal variations in geomorphology lies with island type, of which three major kinds can be recognized in the Pacific;
  1. 1.

    volcanic islands, often slowly subsiding, generally high, well vegetated with broad coastal plains around river mouths;

  2. 2.

    high limestone islands, often rising,...

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of the South PacificSuvaFiji