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# Descriptions of Various Coastal Formations

Describe the characteristics of waves, beach, current, longshore drift, coastal straightening, and barrier island and how each is related to coastal formation.

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Hi,

Interesting question! Let's take a closer look at the meaning of the geologic terms and how each impacts the coastal shoreline.

RESPONSE:

Q1. Describe the characteristics of waves, beach, current, longshore drift, coastal straightening, and barriers island and how each is related to coastal formation.

1. A wave is a mode of energy transfer from one place to another, often with little or no permanent displacement of the particles of the medium (i.e. little or no associated mass transport); instead there are oscillations around almost fixed positions. Thus, while mechanical waves require a medium to transverse the distance, electromagnetic waves can travel through a vacuum. (http://www.webref.org/geology/l/longshore_current.htm).

Common types of mechanical waves include sound or acoustic waves, ocean waves, and earthquake or seismic waves. In order for compressional waves to propagate, there must be a medium, i.e. matter must exist in the intervening space. For our purposes, we use the term matter to mean that atoms must exist in the intervening space. To learn more about different types of mechanical waves such as earthquake waves, link to our module on Mechanical Waves (http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/wav/index.html).

However, there are different types of waves associated with water that act to erode the coastline. For example, wave refraction is a wave process by which a wave approaching the shore changes direction due to slowing of those parts of the wave that enter shallow water first, causing a sharp decrease in the angle at which the wave approaches until the wave is almost parallel to the coast. Waves erode the coast line and create coastal formations, ...

#### Solution Summary

This solution describes the characteristics of waves, beach, current, longshore drift, coastal straightening, and barrier island and how each is related to coastal formation. Supplemented with a diagram of the formations and links for further expansion.

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