GCSE Geography: Landforms Caused By Erosion

25th June 2021

Do you know what landforms are a result of coastal erosion? Learn more below.

Erosion is one of the main processes that occurs on the coastline. Coastal landforms that are created by erosion include bays, cliff, and headlands. But these landforms are created by multiple types of erosion processes.

There are four key types of erosion: 

  • Abrasion 

    • Waves that are carrying material hit the cliff and slowly wear it away like sand paper.

  • Hydraulic Action

    • Waves approach the coastline and trap air in between gaps in the rockface. The cliff is then weakened by constant hydraulic action. 

  • Attrition 

    • Waves cause the rocks to be agitated and crash against each other. This action breaks them down into rounder and smaller pieces.

  • Corrosion/Solution

    • Seawater contains different salts and acids which gradually dissolve rocks over thousands of years. 

Other types of erosion include wind erosion, weathering and sub-aerial processes. All of these different erosion processes create a variety of landforms such as headlands, bays, caves, and stumps to name a few. 


Headlands and bays 


Headlands jut out at the ends of the beaches as they are normally formed out of more resistant rock than bays. As erosion occurs, some rock is worn away quicker than some which allows for bays and headlands to be created. 

There are normally different bands of rock along a coastline, the weaker the rock, the quicker the erosion. More resistant rock is harder to erode so sticks out and leaves headlands. For example, clay will erode quicker than granite. 


Caves, arches, stacks and stumps


As headlands can be subject to more erosion, they can develop different features. This is because the headlands jut out into the oceans and can be easy targets for erosion action. As time goes on, the features may transform into each other. For example a stack can change into a stump over time. 

Stump formation: 

  • Through erosion, typically hydraulic action, waves cause weaknesses to form cracks at the base of the headland. 

  • The cracks can transform into a cave overtime. 

  • As the cave gets bigger, it can travel through to the other side to create an arch. More cracks appear in the roof due to weaknesses created by erosion. 

  • Arches can grow then their roofs collapse. This then leaves a stack which is a large piece of rock that is separated from the mainland.

  • As the stack erodes further, a stump appears. 

Are you looking for an easy way to memorise GCSE theory? Don’t forget to check out our GCSE Geography revision songs. Find it here: https://learnthrumusic.co.uk/subjects/gcse-geography/



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