Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!
Print

Geography

Erosional landforms

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Next

Along a coastline there are features created by erosion. These include cliffs, wave-cut platforms and wave-cut notches. There are also headlands and bays, caves, arches, stacks and stumps.

Cliffs, wave-cut platforms and notches

Seven Sisters chalk cliffs on the East Sussex coast

Seven Sisters chalk cliffs on the East Sussex coast

One of the most common features of a coastline is a cliff. Cliffs are shaped through a combination of erosion and weathering - the breakdown of rocks caused by weather conditions.

Soft rock, eg sand and clay, erodes easily to create gently sloping cliffs. Hard rock, eg chalk, is more resistant and erodes slowly to create steep cliffs.

The erosion of cliffs

The erosion of cliffs

The process of cliff erosion

  1. Weather weakens the top of the cliff.
  2. The sea attacks the base of the cliff forming a wave-cut notch.
  3. The notch increases in size causing the cliff to collapse.
  4. The backwash carries the rubble towards the sea forming a wave-cut platform.
  5. The process repeats and the cliff continues to retreat.

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  1. Next

Back to Coasts index

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.