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In Britain, the southern half of the coastline is slowly sinking (on the east coast, at the rate of half a centimetre a year) whilst the northern half is rising, as a result of rebounding of the land mass (responding to the removal of ice from the last Ice Age).
Some areas may be eroding at a rate of 6 m / 20 ft per year.
Longshore Drift is the movement of material along a beach.
When a wave breaks obliquely, pebbles are carried up the beach in the direction of the wave (swash).
Longshore drift is responsible for the erosion of beaches and the formation of spits (ridges of sand or shingle projecting into the water).
Much erosion has taken place, indeed the British Isles were once connected to the European mainland.
Beach erosion can occur due to the construction of artificial barriers, such as groynes, or due to the natural periodicity of the beach cycle, whereby high tides and the high waves of winter storms tend to carry sand away from the beach and deposit it offshore in the form of bars.
During the calmer summer season some of this sand is redeposited on the beach.
The erosion of the land by the constant battering of the sea's waves, primarily by the processes of hydraulic action, corrasion, attrition and corrosion.
Hydraulic action, occurs when the force of the waves compresses air pockets in coastal rocks and cliffs.