Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

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

Alluvial-Plain Coasts

  • Daniel F. BelknapEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48657-4_6-2


Alluvial coasts form under the influence of marginal-marine processes on sedimentary deposits of fluvial origin. These may be alluvial fans, alluvial plains, or terraces of low slope and elevation. These coasts are neither strongly outbuilding of retreating, and are not strongly influenced by tectonic of isostatic uplift or subsidence.


Alluvial-plain coasts are systems “formed where the broad alluvial slope at the base of a mountain range is built out into a lake or the sea” and are part of a “neutral” coast (Johnson 1919, p. 188). The term “neutral coast” is little used in modern publications, but is still a useful classification of coastlines built by interaction of river and coastal processes where sediment input and relative sea level change are morphodynamically balanced, producing a coastline that neither progrades nor retreats rapidly. Alluvial-plain coasts may be closely associated with deltas, estuaries, beach-ridge plains, barrier-lagoon systems, and...

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth and Climate SciencesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA