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There are three main processes at work in the sea. These are erosion, transportation and deposition.

What is coastal transportation?

Transportation is the movement of material in the sea and along the coast by waves. The movement of material along the coast is called longshore drift.

How does the sea transport material?

Although longshore drift is the main process of transportation the material moves in four different ways. These are:

Traction - large material is rolled along the sea floor.

Saltation - beach material is bounced along the sea floor.

Suspension - beach material is suspended and carried by the waves.

Solution - material is disolved and carried by the water.

What is Longshore Drift?

Longshore drift is the movement of material along the shore by wave action.

Image of longshore drift

Longshore drift happens when waves approach the beach at an angle. The swash (waves moving up the beach) carries material up and along the beach. The backwash carries material back down the beach at right angles. This is the result of gravity. This process slowly moves material along the beach. Longshore drift provides a link between erosion and deposition. Material in one place is eroded, transported then deposited elsewhere.

Find out about coastal erosion

Find out about coastal depostion

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