Q:

How are sea arches formed?

A:

Quick Answer

Sea arches form when waves are deflected to the sides by a point on the headland. These waves erode a plane of weakness on both sides of the headland creating an opening. The openings on each side eventually meet in the middle with stronger rock joining overhead.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Sea arches do not last very long on a geological time scale. Most collapse within a few decades to a few centuries. When the center collapses, the stacks of rocks remaining on the sides are known as tombolos. The rock spanning the opening in the sea arch is called a keystone.

The coastal erosion that forms sea arches is responsible for a variety of other landforms. Caves, tunnels, columns and pillars are some of the landforms created by the action of waves on sections of rock that are more easily eroded than the rock around it. Erosion of rock in one area may result in accumulation of sediment in another area, creating a wide variety of structures.

Though other forms of erosion can create similar structures on dry land, the constant action of waves along the coastline greatly decreases the time required for these structures to form. The rapidity of coastal erosion often threatens property and results in the expenditure of billions of dollars each year to preserve coastlines.

Learn more about Landforms

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a deep valley with steep sides?

    A:

    A deep valley with steep sides is a canyon. Canyons are cut by erosion, and they provide insight about the geology of the region. Rivers are the main creators of canyons on land, and torrents of water under the ocean cause underwater canyons.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a canyon?

    A:

    A canyon refers to a deep and narrow valley that has steep sides. The word canyon is derived from the Spanish word cañon, which means pipe or tube.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a mesa landform?

    A:

    A mesa is a tall landform with a wide, flat top and steep sides. Mesa landforms are found throughout the American Southwest and in other arid regions of the world. The Spanish word "mesa" means table, as Spanish explorers thought these geological landforms looked like tabletops.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a depression contour line?

    A:

    A depression contour line is a marking on a map indicating a low point of land completely surrounded by more elevated land. The area is represented by closed concentric lines. The inner depression contour lines indicate lower elevations, with the elevation increasing with each outer layer.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore