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Coastal Erosion Essay

1519 words - 7 pages

With Reference to examples discuss the view that coastal erosion is caused by human intervention as a posed to natural processes.
For many decades the approach to rapid coastal erosion was to build up sea defenses, to try and slow down or even stop the erosion. Initially the attempts were thought a success, however after some years it was realized that the power of the sea and waves could overcome human attempts. Only could protection be a success if huge costs were going to be involved. Many methods around the British Isles have taken place in he last 50 years with many failures occurring. It is very rare to find a coastline that shows a decrease in the rate of erosion over many years ...view middle of the document...

This in turn would help protect the coastline, by absorbing the wave energy. Then at Withernsea a concrete sea wall with a splash back and boulder rip-rap in front of it was created. These defenses were to cause great problems. The groyne meant that material moving down the coast by long shore drift would get stuck behind the groyne. This protected the initial area as a beach was created. Although this meant less material was heading further down the coast than it had done in the past, it created a beach as it was trapped. The sea wall and rip-rap protected the initial area, by stopping the erosion. Although in turn this meant less material was been carried down the coast, because there was less been eroded by the sea. The beaches along the Holderness coast were already very small, as only 30% of the glacial till eroded is heavy enough to be deposited and form a beach. The beaches down coast of the defenses began to shrink in size, as material usually deposited there was either not eroded, or stuck behind the groyne. This meant that the waves concentrated all their energy on the base of the weak cliff, because the beaches were not big enough to absorb the waves. This caused the cliffs to erode at a faster rate, threatening many buildings once thought of as safe. At Easington, the Gas terminal is under threat sitting right on the edge of the cliff, with no beach to protect it. They will either have to move it, or build some of their own sea defenses. Cowden Farm just down the coast from the Mappleton groyne, is starting to fall into the sea. Here erosion increased as a direct result of the defenses, there is almost visibly no beach remaining at the foot of the cliff. Many other properties have already fallen into the sea or are about to do so soon.
Gravel extraction occurs in many offshore areas around Britain, gravel is removed in large volumes for commercial purposes each year. More than 20 million tones were been dredged in 1989. The removal of this gravel was thought to be a good method, as no extra quarries would have to open therefore creating no protests from any local people. The problem is removing all this sand and gravel is leading to the gradual wearing away of shores and cliffs, adding to coastal erosion. When large amounts of material are removed from the seabed, the directions of currents move more material back into the dredged area. The area dredged will be replenished with material, and this material will be taken from elsewhere along the coastline. Dredging is taking place offshore from Barton on Sea, near the Isle of Wight. Like Holderness, Barton on Sea suffers from coastal erosion at an alarming rate, and long shore drift is also present. At Barton, a spit has also developed because of the long shore drift. Barton is also an area that has suffered heavily from landslides on the coast in the past, because of the layers that make up the cliff. Heavy rain causes the initial problem, infiltrating into the permeable material. It...

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