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Tales of the Coast
Coastal Dynamics

Wind and the Pacific Coast

The most important effect of wind on the Pacific coast is in the creation of waves that attack the sea cliffs along the shore. Wave-producing storms, which are driven by wind, travel toward the Pacific coast. This results in higher wave conditions along the Pacific than the Atlantic coast. The strong wave climate has cut terraces into the cliffs and headlands.

Along the coast of Oregon and Washington, large dune fields have formed from the transport of sand by wind. Barriers islands and spits occur at river mouths along this section of the coast where rivers have deposited significant amounts of sediment. Waves have reworked the sediment into barriers and wind formed dunes on the beaches.

 

Wind and the Pacific Coast

Pacific Coast Beaches: The coarse sand and sediment along much of the Pacific coast is more resistant to wind transport than fine-grained sand found on Atlantic and Gulf barrier beaches.