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Matalascanas Case Study. L/O: Explain the processes that form different landforms Explain how tourism affects the coast. We will be going to Matalascanas on Thursday – we will be looking at the following sections of our course! The physical processes which create coastal land forms

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Matalascanas Case Study

  • L/O:

    Explain the processes that form different landforms

    Explain how tourism affects the coast

We will be going to Matalascanas on Thursday – we will be looking at the following sections of our course!

The physical processes which create coastal land forms

The growth of tourism in an MEDC

The benefits and disadvantages of tourism in an MEDC

Keywords needed for field trip
Keywords needed for field trip!

Physical processes


International / domestic tourist

Local economy

Disposable income


  • Fetch

  • Swash

  • Backwash

  • Constructive

  • Destructive

  • Longshore drift

  • Erosion landforms

  • Deposition landforms

  • Sub aerial processes

  • Dune

Why are waves generally larger in the south west of England?

Wave energy depends on the fetch, the strength of the wind and the length of time over which the wind has blown.

fetch = the distance over which the wind has blown

The LARGER the fetch the LARGER the waves

Explain what the fetch is in your own words

What causes waves
What causes waves?

Use this diagram and pages 139-140 to answer:

  • What factors affect the size of the waves?

  • How do we calculate the wave height? HAWAII WAVES!

Types of waves

Explain the difference between a constructive and destructive wave?

Swash and backwash



Note: Backwash is always at right angles to the beach

Longshore drift

Direction of movement

Backwash is always at right angles to the beach



This movement of sediment along the coastline is calledlongshore drift. As the sea hits the land at an angle you can see that the pebbles and sand will be moved to the right with the force of the sea.

Draw your own diagram of LONGSHORE drift and label: swash, backwash, longshore drift direction – GIVE IT A TITLE!

Processes of erosion


Materials carried by the waves bump into each other and so are smoothed and broken down into smaller particles.

Hydraulic action

This process involves the force of water against the coast. The waves enter cracks (faults) in the coastline and compress the air within the crack. When the wave retreats, the air in the crack expands quickly, causing a minor explosion. This process is repeated continuously.


This is the chemical action of sea water. The acids in the salt water slowly dissolve rocks on the coast. Limestone and chalk are particularly prone to this process.


This is the process by which the coast is worn down by material carried by the waves. Waves throw these particles against the rock, sometimes at high velocity.

Coastal landforms
Coastal landforms

Coastal landforms are created by a process of deposition and erosion.

Erosion wears away at the soft rock through the processes seen on the slide before.

Deposition is when the sea dumps some of it’s load in a particular place!

Draw an example of TWO land forms created by coastal EROSION and TWO by coastal DEPOSITION – use the following slides to help and the video below!

Bolonia Bay

An example of headlands and bays on the Spanish coastline.

Wave-cut platform

The waves attack the base of the cliff through the processes of abrasion, corrosion, hydraulic action and attrition.

Over time the cliff will be undercut and a wave-cut notch is formed.

Eventually the cliff becomes unstable and collapses. Further cliff retreat will form a wave-cut platform.

How are beaches formed?

Beaches form in sheltered environments, such as bays. When the swash is stronger than the backwash, deposition occurs.

Sometimes sand from offshore bars can be blown onto the shore by strong winds.

In such cases dunes may form – such as Bolonia on the Cadiz coast

What are sub aerial processes
What are sub-aerial processes?

The coast is the narrow zone between the land and the sea.

It is worth remembering that the landscape will be influenced by processes on the land as well as the sea.

Sub-aerial processes include weathering and mass movement. These processes operate on the cliff face to weaken it and provide material for coastal erosion.

Dune formation
Dune formation

There are water loving plants that can take root near the coast (e.gmarram).

There plants have very long roots and can help the create barrier to the wind (fetch) coming in off the sea.

Therefore sand build up around these plants as the sand is deposited and begins to form a dune.


What will happen to the dune if humans walk all over it? Think short term and long term!

Key ideas
Key Ideas

Waves are the result of the wind blowing over the sea. They break as they approach land.

Swash and backwash describe the movement of a wave on the beach. Fetch is the distance that the wind has travelled.

Sub-aerial processes such as weathering and mass movement occur on the cliff face.

Coastal processes of erosion include hydraulic action, attrition, corrosion and solution.

Landforms created by erosion include headlands and bays, caves, arches, stacks and stumps.

Longshore drift is a method of coastal transport.

Landforms created by deposition include beaches, spits, tombolos and bars.


  • What has causes the growth of Matalascanas?

  • How does tourism benefit the local economy?

  • How does tourism affect the local economy?

  • How can tourism affect the environment?

Spanish tourism
Spanish tourism

  • International tourists – people visiting from outside of Spain

  • Domestic tourists – people visiting from inside of Spain

  • Long Haul – travel for more than 5 hours

  • Short haul – travel for less than 5 hours

    Spain was THIRD in the world for the top ten holiday destinations in 2009.

    Tourism provides 16% of Spain’s GDP (gross domestic product)

Why have more people started going on holiday
Why have more people started going on holiday?

  • Air travel improved and affordable

  • More leisure time

  • Higher wages

  • Better health and longer lives

  • Growth of the internet

  • Ageing populations

  • Advertising

  • Attractions and services

Economic and environmental affects of tourism
Economic and environmental affects of tourism

Investigation planning 2 hours
Investigation planning– 2 hours

You are going to have to find out:



Questionnaires – think who will you ask about each different point

Give options for easy answering!

Field diagrams

  • Why matalascanas has grown as a holiday destination

  • What types of people come to visit matalascanas? International / domestic?

  • How is the local economy affected in a good / bad way

  • How is the environment affected?

Questionnaire ideas
Questionnaire ideas






Length of contract

Problems they can see





Where visiting from?

How they travelled?

What they spend money on

Where they are staying