How do waves shape our coastline?

Step 1: Read the key terms list below. Make sure that you understand and could give a definition to somebody else.

Step 2: Read the information in Section 1. Answer the exam questions here 7.1 – Waves and complete the short quiz below

Coastal unit key terms

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 Key term: 

Fetch: The distance of open water over which wind blows. The longer the fetch, the stronger and more powerful a wave has the potential to become.

Crest: The top of a wave.

Swash: The incoming movement of a wave up a beach (heading inland)

Backwash: The outgoing movement of a wave down a beach once the wave has broken (heading back out to sea)

Constructive wave: A powerful wave with a strong swash, bringing sediment with it. This sediment is disputed to form a beach.

Destructive wave: A wave with a strong backwash. Destructive waves have a weak swash so there is limited forward movement when the wave breaks.

Section 1: How do waves form?

Wind blowing over the ocean or sea ——> Friction with the waters surface ——> ripples form ——> ripples develop into waves

Tsunami’s can also be created through tectonic activity such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Tsunami waves are much bigger and more powerful than usual and have the potential to cause widespread devastation.

Indian Ocean Tsunami - 2004

Indian Ocean Tsunami – 2004

Types of waves