Factors That Effect the Shape of a Coastline

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Biological weathering is where the processes of living organisms, animals and plants, help to weather rocks to aid in the process of erosion. Examples of Biological weathering are tree roots growing and expanding through cracks in the rock, especially those which hold a lot of water within them, and the decomposition of dead animals and plants produces acidic by-products that slowly corrode the rock. These processes can take thousands of years to begin to see any real results. Biological weathering can be seen to both Chemical and Physical weathering. Another factor that affects the shape of a coastline is mass wasting or mass wastage, which is the geomorphic process by which soil and rock move down slope under the force of gravity.

Other factors include the many processes of erosion. These include Quarrying, otherwise known as hydraulic action, Abrasion/Corrasion, Corrosion/Solution and Attrition. Hydraulic action is where the water is thrown at the base of a cliff, for example, by the force of the waves. The shear weight of the water (30 tonnes/ meter squared) slams into the cliff forcing air into small cracks within the cliff, which may be caused by weathering or if the rock is arranged in layers or not, and creates immense pressure that forces the rock apart. This continuous cycle of the build up of pressure and release of pressure (Dilatation) eventually causes sediments of the cliff to fall off. Abrasion, or Corrasion, happens when rocks and other pieces or sediment carried in suspension in the water is thrown at the cliff, thus braking off pieces of the cliff that can then be used to throw back at the cliff. This is particularly effective on exposed coastlines. Corrosion is when chemicals dissolved within the water, mostly acidic chemicals, decompose the rock changing the chemical structure of the rock allowing the rock to be soluble in water, rather than insoluble in water, so that it can be transported away fro the cliff.

Human activity can also...
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