Six Ways Waves Erode the Coastline

  • Abrasion- rock and sediment smash and grind against rocks and cliffs, breaking bits off and smoothing surfaces.
  • Hydraulic action- air in cracks in cliffs is compressed when waves crash in. The pressure exerted by the compressed air break off pieces of rock.
  • Cavitation- as waves recede, the compressed air expands violently, again exerting pressure on the rock, causing pieces to break off.
  • Wave quarrying- energy of a wave as it breaks against a cliff is enough to detach bits of rock.
  • Solution- soluble rocks get gradually dissolved by the seawater.
  • Attrition- bits of rock smash against each other and break into smaller bits.