Glossary of Terms

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In referring to sediment grains, loose, separate, or unattached to one another.

Erosion of material at the foot of a cliff or bank, e.g. a sea cliff, or river bank on the outside of a meander. Ultimately, the overhang collapses, and the process is repeated.

A current below water surface flowing seaward; the receding water below the surface from waves breaking on a shelving beach. Actually undertow is largely mythical. As the backwash of each wave flows down the beach, a current is formed which flows seaward. However, it is a periodic phenomenon. The most common phenomena expressed as "undertow" are actually rip currents.

The direction opposite that of the predominant movement of littoral materials.

Dry land area above and landward of the ordinary high water mark (ohwm).

Often used as a general term to mean high land far from the coast and in the interior of the country.

The rush of water up the foreshore following the breaking of a wave, also called swash or run up.

A long coasts with obliquely approaching waves there is a longshore (wave-driven) current. For this current one can define an upstream and a downstream direction.

The input of hydrocarbons, heavy metals, pesticides, and other chemicals to the nearshore marine environment from densely populated areas.