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Wave-Cut Platform

Last updated date: 27th Feb 2024
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Wave-Cut Cliff

Want to know what a wave-cut platform is? Before moving to the definition of wave-cut platform we need to first know about its different names. Wave-cut platforms are known in different terms like a wave-cut cliff, coastal bench and also as shore platforms. 

They are nothing but the landforms that are flat and narrow which is often found on the shoreline. It is usually found at the base area of the sea cliff and is extended to the sea. These wave-cut cliffs are commonly formed due to erosion. They are most visible during the low tide as flat and big areas of rock.

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How is the Wave-Cut Platform Formed?

The wave-cut platform is also known as the Abrasion Platform. As mentioned they are landforms that are formed when the sea hits the weaker areas of a cliff. Eventually, a cut or a trail is formed due to the erosion process. This is generally called a notch and gradually this notch enlarges and becomes caves. When it becomes bigger, it disturbs the cliff and this will end up in the collapse. Finally when the collapsed cliffs are windswept and moved away the wave-cut cliff or wave-cut platform is formed. The same process is repeated again.

What is a Wave-Cut Terrace?

Cliffs are quite common on the coastline. At the base of these cliffs, there may be a sloping area that is covered by wreckage left by the sea cliff. This platform that occurs at a height above the waves is called a wave-cut terrace. In short, a wave-cut terrace is nothing but a narrow water ridge inclining gradually away from the bottom of an eroded sea cliff.

Introduction to Abrasion

Abrasion geography is nothing but the breaking of the rocks into smaller pieces eroded away through friction. In simple words, abrasion occurs when the rocks get scrubbed each other leaving the effect of sandpaper. This rubbing of the stones will make the rocks smooth. Abrasion geography briefs about the whole process of abrasion which happens in different ways. Abrasion is a process where the rocks and stones become when rocks and stones become implanted at the base and edges of the glacier. These, later on, get rubbed against the bedrock usually at the bottom of the glacier and tend the glaciers to move, resulting in the wearing of landscapes.

Process of Abrasion

The three major elements of weathering are the main causes of abrasion. They are the power of the water, the force of the wind and the gravity. At times the rocks that are formed from the ice of the glaciers can also be a reason for abrasion on the rocks. This even results in making the rocks round and smooth. Generally, when we learn about abrasion, it is usually related to two terms attrition and hydraulic action. In fact, abrasion and attrition are closely related. Abrasion arises when the two surfaces rub against each other due to friction whereas attrition is the breaking down that happens due to hitting against each other.

Now, moving on to the process of abrasion, it happens in four different ways.

The first and the most type of abrasion is the abrasion that is caused by ice or glaciation. Here when the glacier moves, it erodes towards the land surrounding the ice. This is generally a small process. Well in the second type the abrasion is caused by the rivers. Here the power of the water hits the walls and this causes erosion. This in turn will lead to the erosion of pebbles or stones in the river.

The third type of abrasion is caused by the action of waves. When the strong waves hit the shore and stones the erosion occurs. Well in the fourth type we can see the abrasion caused by the wind. The energy of the winds leads to transporting sand and pebbles against the rocks and this gradually ends in erosion.

Now to conclude with we can have a look at the common types of Abrasions. It is generally classified into three types: flat abrasion, edge abrasion and flex abrasion.

FAQs on Wave-Cut Platform

Q1. What is Meant by Wave Erosion?

Answer: In some areas where the water is calm especially in the bays, the energy of the waves will be stronger and this spreads and it results in the sand collection in few areas. When the water gets eroded by the strong waves hits the wave-cut cliff and results in the collapse of the cliff. This process is called Wave Erosion. In short, the destructive waves are accountable for the erosion happening on the coastline.

Q2. What are the different Types of Wave Erosion?

Answer: Erosion Can be Classified Into Four Types:

  • Abrasion – the process in which the pebbles get ground and over time this makes the rocks much smoother.

  • Attrition - this is the process in which the rocks hit each other and break apart and eventually these broken rocks become smaller and in round shapes.

  • Hydraulic Action – this process is nothing but the absolute power of the waves when they hit against the cliff. This power ultimately results in breaking the rocks apart.

  • Solution – certain types of rocks dissolves and forms solutions.