Wash margin

A wash margin[1] or wash fringe[1] (German: Spülsaum)[1] is an area of the shore on which material is deposited or washed up. It often runs along the margin of a waterbody and there can be several bands due to variations in water levels. As a result of the richness of nutrients that occur in such wash fringes, ruderal species frequently occur here, that, for example, on the Baltic Sea coast consist of grassleaf orache and sea kale.

Steilküste Stoltera 2
Two successive wash margins (centre and below right) comprising seaweed and eelgrass.
Spuelsaum 20040724
Close-up of wash margin on the beach at Cuxhaven

See also

Literature

  • Leser, Hartmut, ed. (2005). Wörterbuch Allgemeine Geographie, 13th ed., Deutsche Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich, ISBN 978-3-423-03422-7.

External links

References

  1. ^ a b c Leser (2005), p. 870.
Coastal geography

Coastal geography is the study of the constantly changing region between the ocean and the land, incorporating both the physical geography (i.e. coastal geomorphology, geology and oceanography) and the human geography (sociology and history) of the coast. It includes understanding coastal weathering processes, particularly wave action, sediment movement and weather, and the ways in which humans interact with the coast

High water mark

A high water mark is a point that represents the maximum rise of a body of water over land. Such a mark is often the result of a flood, but high water marks may reflect an all-time high, an annual high (highest level to which water rose that year) or the high point for some other division of time. Knowledge of the high water mark for an area is useful in managing the development of that area, particularly in making preparations for flood surges. High water marks from floods have been measured for planning purposes since at least as far back as the civilizations of ancient Egypt. It is a common practice to create a physical marker indicating one or more of the highest water marks for an area, usually with a line at the level to which the water rose, and a notation of the date on which this high water mark was set. This may be a free-standing flood level sign or other marker, or it may be affixed to a building or other structure that was standing at the time of the flood that set the mark.A high water mark is not necessarily an actual physical mark, but it is possible for water rising to a high point to leave a lasting physical impression such as floodwater staining. A landscape marking left by the high water mark of ordinary tidal action may be called a strandline and is typically composed of debris left by high tide. The area at the top of a beach where debris is deposited is an example of this phenomenon. Where there are tides, this line is formed by the highest position of the tide, and moves up and down the beach on a fortnightly cycle. The debris is chiefly composed of rotting seaweed, but can also include a large amount of litter, either from ships at sea or from sewage outflows.

Island

An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or a lake island may be called an eyot or ait, and a small island off the coast may be called a holm. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands is called an archipelago, such as the Philippines.

An island may be described as such, despite the presence of an artificial land bridge; examples are Singapore and its causeway, and the various Dutch delta islands, such as IJsselmonde. Some places may even retain "island" in their names for historical reasons after being connected to a larger landmass by a land bridge or landfill, such as Coney Island and Coronado Island, though these are, strictly speaking, tied islands. Conversely, when a piece of land is separated from the mainland by a man-made canal, for example the Peloponnese by the Corinth Canal or Marble Hill in northern Manhattan during the time between the building of the United States Ship Canal and the filling-in of the Harlem River which surrounded the area, it is generally not considered an island.

There are two main types of islands in the sea: continental and oceanic. There are also artificial islands.

Mudflat

Mudflats or mud flats, also known as tidal flats, are coastal wetlands that form in intertidal areas where sediments have been deposited by tides or rivers. A recent global analysis suggested they are as extensive globally as mangroves. They are found in sheltered areas such as bays, bayous, lagoons, and estuaries. Mudflats may be viewed geologically as exposed layers of bay mud, resulting from deposition of estuarine silts, clays and marine animal detritus. Most of the sediment within a mudflat is within the intertidal zone, and thus the flat is submerged and exposed approximately twice daily.

In the past tidal flats were considered unhealthy, economically unimportant areas and were often dredged and developed into agricultural land. Several especially shallow mudflat areas, such as the Wadden Sea, are now popular among those practising the sport of mudflat hiking.

On the Baltic Sea coast of Germany in places, mudflats are exposed not by tidal action, but by wind-action driving water away from the shallows into the sea. These wind-affected mudflats are called windwatts in German.

Surf zone

As ocean surface waves come closer to shore they break, forming the foamy, bubbly surface called surf. The region of breaking waves defines the surf zone. After breaking in the surf zone, the waves (now reduced in height) continue to move in, and they run up onto the sloping front of the beach, forming an uprush of water called swash. The water then runs back again as backswash. The nearshore zone where wave water comes onto the beach is the surf zone. The water in the surf zone, or breaker zone, is shallow, usually between 5 and 10 m (16 and 33 ft) deep; this causes the waves to be unstable.

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