Encyclopedia of the World's Coastal Landforms

2010 Edition
| Editors: Eric C. F. Bird

Isle of Wight

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8639-7_73


The Isle of Wight is a diamond-shaped island measuring 37.8 km from east to west and 21.4 km from north to south, with a coastline about 90 km long. Its central feature is a ridge of steeply-dipping Chalk extending from The Needles in the west to Culver Cliff in the east. To the north are Tertiary formations, Eocene and Oligocene: the Eocene strata stand almost vertical in Alum Bay and Whitecliff Bay, immediately adjacent to the Chalk ridge, but the dip diminishes rapidly northward and the Upper Oligocene strata are almost horizontal. To the south the Chalk escarpment looks across the outcrops of Lower Cretaceous formations exposed in anticlinal zones to a southern plateau of Chalk dipping gently southward (Bird 1997).

Much of the coast is cliffed across these various formations. The drainage divide is generally close to the southern coast, so that relatively long rivers drain to the north coast estuaries, as at Newtown Harbour, the Medina at Cowes, Wootton Creek and...


Calcareous Sandstone Shore Platform Vertical Cliff Grassy Slope Shingle Beach 
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  1. Bird ECF (1997) The Shaping of the Isle of Wight. Ex-Libris Press, Bradford on Avon, WiltshireGoogle Scholar
  2. Hutchinson JN, Chandler MP, Bromhead EN (1981) Cliff recession on the Isle of Wight south-west coast. In: Proceedings of the 10th internatio­­nal conference on soil mechanics and foundation engineering, Stockholm, Sweden, pp 429–434Google Scholar
  3. Hutchinson JN, Brunsden D, Lee EM (1991) The geomorphology of the landslide complex at Ventnor, Isle of Wight. In: Chandler RJ (ed)Slope stability engineering. Thomas Telford, London, pp 213–218Google Scholar

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