1997 Edition

Atlantic and pacific type coasts

  • Rhodes W. Fairbridge
Reference work entry

In 1885 (p. 6), Edward Suess recognized that there was a fundamental geotectonic control in the orientation of the continental coastlines of the world. There are modifying controls due to rock material, climatic factors, local tectonics, and eustasy (see   Coastal Classification ), and the emphasis placed upon emergence or submergence by the W. M. Davis school of geomorphology has tended to divert attention from the fundamental characteristic recognized by Suess.

Since most continental coasts (excepting those of epicontinental seas, like the Baltic or Persian Gulf) are, in broad outlines, subparallel to the outer margins of their accompanying continental shelves, the coastal trend must be related to the pattern of the continent itself. If, in any particular stage of geologic history, the eustatic phase is high, the coast will be far “inland” from the shelf break, but if it is low, the coastline may closely approximate the continental margin. The higher the eustatic phase, the more...

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Copyright information

© Reinhold Book Corporation 1968

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  • Rhodes W. Fairbridge

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