Holderness Coast Landforms

AQA GCSE Geography > Physical Landscapes in the UK > Holderness Coast Landforms


Holderness Coast Landforms

The Holderness Coast in East Yorkshire stretches 61 kilometres from Flamborough Head in the North to Spurn Point in the South.

The coastline is one of the fastest eroding in Europe, which leads to the formation of a range of coastal landforms of erosion and deposition.

The Geology of the Holderness Coast

Underlying the Holderness Coast is bedrock made up of Cretaceous Chalk. However, this is covered by glacial till deposited over 18,000 years ago in most places. It is this soft boulder clay that is being rapidly eroded.

A map to show the geology of the Holderness Coast

The geology of the Holderness Coast

Landforms of erosion and deposition at Selwicks Bay, Flamborough

Flamborough Head is a headland that juts out into the North Sea. It is formed from chalk, a resistant rock.

Several bays are located along Flamborough Head, formed where the sea has eroded weaknesses in the chalk cliffs. Selwicks Bay is one example. The bay contains a range of coastal landforms of erosion and deposition.

The cliffs here are formed from chalk. Overlying the chalk is a layer of boulder clay.

Erosional processes, including hydraulic action and abrasion, have formed many coastal landforms within Selwicks Bay, including steep cliffs, wave-cut notches, a wave-cut platform, a stack known locally as Stack Adam, and coastal arches.

Landforms of deposition at Flamborough are limited to small beaches formed by the erosion and weathering of cliff material. These beaches consist of pieces of chalk from collapsed cliffs and weathering, pebbles from the eroded boulder clay,  and sand that has formed from abrasion and attrition.

Landforms of deposition at Spurn Point

In contrast to Flamborough Head, Spurn Point is home to a wide range of coastal landforms of deposition.  Spurn Point is a coastal spit formed by the deposition of sediment that has been transported along the Holderness Coast, from north to south, by longshore drift.

Where the coastline changes direction, material has been deposited to form the sandy spit.

Spurn Point is curved, with a hooked end, because the wind and waves coming from a secondary direction push the tip of the land in that direction, giving it this unique appearance.

Beach material is blown up the beach by the wind, forming sand dunes, which stretch almost the length of Spurn Point and have helped stabilise the spit.

Salt marshes have formed behind Spurn Point, as the River Humber deposits silt and mud in this sheltered estuary area.

Summary

  • The Holderness Coast in East Yorkshire spans 61 kilometres from Flamborough Head to Spurn Point and is known for its rapid erosion.

  • The region’s geology consists of Cretaceous Chalk covered by glacial till, primarily soft boulder clay, which is eroding quickly.

  • Flamborough Head, a chalk headland, exhibits various coastal landforms like cliffs, wave-cut notches, a wave-cut platform, a stack, and coastal arches due to erosional processes.

  • At Flamborough, deposition landforms are limited to small beaches formed from collapsed cliffs and eroded boulder clay.

  • Spurn Point, in contrast, has a wide range of coastal deposition landforms like a sandy spit, sand dunes, and salt marshes, formed by longshore drift and river deposits.

  • Spurn Point’s unique curved shape results from the influence of wind and waves coming from a secondary direction.

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