When we talk about Spits and Backwash, you may think that we are talking about a trip to the dentists! However, we are actually talking about physical geography, more specifically, landforms created by deposition.
Unlike erosion, deposition occurs when the sea has little energy. This could be in locations such as sheltered bays and coves. Coastal material that has been eroded from the coast travels and later put down in a different area.
Landforms created by deposition include spits, salt marshes and beaches. These are created by a process called Longshore Drift which is a process of travelling which shifts eroded material along the coastline. Here is how it occurs:
Waves wash onto the coast at an angle.
The swash carries the material up the beach at an angle.
The backwash pulls back the sediment down the beach at a right angle to the beach.
This process creates a zig-zag movement of sediment along the beach.
Spits are formed due to the process of longshore drift. Coastal sediment travels in a curved line to create an extended stretch of the beach. Only one end of the spit is connected to the mainland.
A spit is formed when there is a change of direction of longshore drift at the coastline and material is deposited. Over a long period of time, the spit transforms into a hook due to wind direction changes further away from the shore. The inside of the spit creates the perfect environment for silt to be deposited and create salt marshes and mudflats. This is because waves cannot reach the sheltered area and wash the silt away.
Beaches are a type of landform created by deposition. They are formed when water deposits a large amount of sediments.
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