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Coastal Erosion

Coastal Erosion

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.(23, Fryrear) 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 after defenses are in place. In fact in places the defenses seem to have speeded up the erosion process.(54, Spence) Coastal erosion is a natural process of erosion; transportation and deposition, interfering with this balance could be to blame for the rise in erosion on the coasts of some areas.(18, Strahler)

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Gravel extraction occurs in many offshore areas around Britain, gravel is removed in large volumes for commercial purposes each year. More than 20 million tons were been dredged in 1989. 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 can then not pass through the clay layer, so flows outwards horizontally emerging as a spring.(49, Viles) This lubricates the layer, removing the friction between layers. When the weight becomes too much, the cliff slips creating a landslide. Many things have been done to the coastline to slow the rate of erosion, but the construction of a groin at Hengistbury Head has made matt…

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