Coastal Erosion: La Playa Loca Essay

1277 words - 6 pages

Erosion is when the elements such as wind, water, and ice remove pieces of land. (“What is Coastal Erosion?”) Coastal Erosion takes place when destructive waves wear parts of the coast away. Four ways in which this takes place are corrasion/abrasion, hydraulic action, attrition, and corrosion/solution. (“Internet Geography”) Corrasion/abrasion is when materials are hurled at the base of cliffs through waves. Hydraulic action is when waves hit the base of a cliff and air is compacted, when the wave leaves air is rushed out and often this causes the material to break. Attrition is when the waves cause rocks and pebbles to smash into each other and eventually break into pieces. Finally, ...view middle of the document...

(“Coasts in Crisis”) On the other hand, storms may cause a lot of erosion in one place while leaving a large deposit somewhere else. As one unit these things create a unique system that can create an important balance at times. (“Coasts in Crisis”)
Features you would expect to see on a coastline that is eroding are clear. There is a noticeable change in the measure of the coastline. One that is severely eroding is clearly smaller than it was before. Sometimes this is noticeable in the length of the beach or in areas where the coastline has come right up to the backyards of homes, threatening their structures. In the figure below it shows where the former shoreline existed and how the waves eroded the shoreline to its current state. (“What is Coastal Erosion?”) This shows how much a coastline can be affected by eroding waves that slowly take away pieces of the coastline. Features you would expect to see on a coastline that isn’t eroding but accreting or growing are the complete opposite. Because the coastline is growing you can see that it is getting larger than its previous state. On such coastlines the sand is being brought in by the waves but not taken away. Therefore, the coastline grows rather than staying the same or lessening. In the figure below it does show the process of erosion but it also displays how accreting can take place and what the process may look like over time. (“Science Direct”)

Barrier islands are exactly what they sound like. They are islands that provide a barrier or protection of the mainland from harsh ocean waves. About 13% of the world’s coasts have barrier islands bordering their coasts. (Garrison 219-229) They form from sediments that accumulate on rises that are parallel to the shoreline therefore they usually lie parallel to the mainland, separated by estuaries, bays, and lagoons. (“Barrier Island Processes”) The islands front side is being eroded by waves often. Because of this, the island never builds healthy dune systems and vegetation, making them highly susceptible to erosion. (“Barrier Island Processes”) This allows waves to carry the sediment to the backside of the island. An example of this is shown in the figure to the left. (“Barrier Island Processes”) Barrier islands are sensitive to erosion; therefore any catastrophic storm on a Barrier Island that is commercially developed could be disastrous for the people living on the island. Even though this danger is present about 70 barrier islands are developed and inhabited. (Garrison 219-229)
Coastlines are constantly in a state of change, that is they are constantly adding or removing sand from the coastline. Water from the waves crashing on to the shore carry particles onto the shore thus increasing the beach and serving as a source of sand along the coastline....

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