If many coastlines are eroding, are there any on Earth growing? © Getty Images

If many coastlines are eroding, are there any on Earth growing?

Coastal erosion is occurring along 17 per cent* of the shoreline across the UK, but in some parts of the world accretion may be increasing coastlines.

Asked by: Cathy McKinnon, Oxford

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Coastlines are in a continual state of flux. Some parts are eroded by wind, waves and man’s activities, while others are growing through a process of accretion – the deposition of mud, sand and rock by oceans and the rivers flowing into them. The balance can swing one way or the other over time and, for obvious reasons, many countries are monitoring it carefully.

In Europe, monitoring is carried out by the European Environment Agency. According to the ‘Eurosion’ study, much of the European coastline is being eroded at present, although the coastline of the Gulf of Bothnia (between Sweden and Finland) is undergoing accretion along its entire length.

*According to the Environment Agency


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