Identify erosional processes and features created by coastal waters

Note: Please refer to the GETTING STARTED module to learn how to maneuver through, and how to answer the lab questions, in the Google Earth () component.


You should know and understand the following terms:

Barrier islandLagoonSea stack
Bay mouth barLittoral driftSpit
Beach driftMarshTides
Groynes (groins)ProtogradationTombolo
Hooked spitSalt flats


After successfully completing this module, you should be able to the following tasks:

·         Identify erosional processes and features created by coastal waters

·         Identify depositional processes and features created by coastal waters

·         Examine the processes which create coastal landforms

·         Interpret topographic maps

·         Calculate elevation from topographic maps


In this module you learn about some fundamental concepts of coastal environments. Topics covered include coastal erosion and deposition processes and features, the tides, and jetties. The module starts with four opening topics, or vignettes, which are found in the accompanying Google Earth file. These vignettes introduce basic concepts and tools on which geographers rely. Some of the vignettes have animations, videos, or short articles that will provide another perspective or visual explanation for the topic at hand. After reading the vignette and associated links, answer the following questions. Please note that some links may take a while to upload based on your internet speed.

 Expand the INTRODUCTION folder and then double-click Topic 1.

 Read Topic 1: Introduction.

Question 1: Which of the following is not a reason people live near or on the coast?

A.   Transportation

B.   Aesthetics

C.   Access to fresh water

D.   Access to ocean resources

 Read Topic 2: Tides

Question 2: What is the height of a normal high tide in the Gulf of Mexico?

A.   1 meter

B.   5 meters

C.   2 meters

D.   0.5 meters

 Read Topic 3: Human Interaction

Question 3: which of the following is not a structural methods humans use to protect a shoreline.

A.   Seawalls

B.   Groins

C.   Jetties

D.   vegetation

 Read Topic 4: Coastal Landforms

Question 4: In the Lake Ellesmere reading, the Banks Peninsula headlands are not eroded as intensely as other headlands. Why?

A.   Efficient reflection of wave energy

B.   Seawalls absorb wave energy

C.   Headlands are made of hard material

D.   Offshore sand bars slow waves down

 Collapse and close INTRODUCTION


  Double-click and select GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE.

This map shows the location of major coastal cities located throughout the world. At present, coastal cities are increasing in population numbers, population density, and spatial extent, with many coastal areas becoming more urbanized.

For Questions 5 to 8, type the information provided into the Search tab in Google Earth and press Enter. When you arrive at your destination, find the information to fill in the blanks below. You might have to zoom out to see the label for the body of water. Verify that the Water Bodies line item is selected (Figure