Tales of the Coast
Coastal Dynamics


Circulation and the Pacific Coast

Longshore currents along the Pacific coast transport sediment that is eroded from sea cliffs or that which is deposited by rivers. Pocket beaches composed of sediment transported in currents have formed between headlands along the coast.

Because of the narrow continental shelf, much of the transported sediment can be lost to submarine canyons relatively close to the shore. Thus, natural circulation can exacerbate erosion by removing sediment from the littoral system.

Barrier island
Source: National Park Service

Circulation and the Pacific Coast

Along the Pacific coast, sea cliffs are eroded by waves and the material is transported by currents.