Shorelines

Practice exam questions written by Timothy H. Heaton,
Professor of Earth Sciences, University of South Dakota

Click the circle by an answer with the mouse, then click on the Submit button to get a response. You will be told if your answer is correct or not and will be given some comments.

  1. As waves move along the surface of the water, what do water particles do?
    They move back and forth in a direction parallel to wave motion.
    They move back and forth in a direction perpendicular to wave motion.
    They move along the crests of waves and can travel thousands of miles.
    They oscillate in circles whose diameters decrease with depth.
    They remain almost entirely motionless.

  2. How deep in water do surface waves cause particle motion?
    Half the wave height.
    Exactly the wave height.
    Twice the wave height.
    Four times the wave height.
    Half the wave length.

  3. What happens to waves when they reach shallow water?
    They continue unabated.
    They slow down.
    They speed up.
    They veer to the right.
    They veer to the left.

  4. What process causes waves to bend as they reach shallow water?
    Diffraction.
    Diffusion.
    Interference.
    Reflection.
    Refraction.

  5. When waves reach an irregular coastline, how is their energy distributed?
    It is equally distributed between bays and headlands.
    It is focused on bays and cuts them deeper.
    It is focused on headlands and erodes them back.
    It is reflected back to sea.

  6. What is a typical order of features created as a headland is eroded by waves?
    Sea arches, then sea caves, then sea stacks.
    Sea arches, then sea stacks, then sea caves.
    Sea caves, then sea arches, then sea stacks.
    Sea caves, then sea stacks, then sea arches.
    Sea stacks, then sea caves, then sea arches.

  7. What effect does wave energy tend to have on a coastline?
    It makes the coast more straight.
    It makes the coast more jagged.
    It makes the coast emergent.
    It makes the coast submergent.

  8. What effect does falling sea level have on a coastline?
    It makes the coast more straight.
    It makes the coast more jagged.
    It makes the coast emergent.
    It makes the coast submergent.

  9. What are daily changes in the elevation of the ocean called?
    Breakwater.
    Longshore currents.
    Tides.
    Tsunami.
    Waves.

  10. Which of the following waves generally have the longest wavelength?
    Capillary waves.
    Gravity waves.
    Internal waves.
    Tides.
    Tsunami.

  11. How many bulges are generated by the tide-raising force on the earth at one time?
    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.

  12. How many high tides occur per day in most coastal areas?
    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.

  13. During which phase(s) of the moon would tidal range be expected to be the smallest?
    Full moon.
    Half moon.
    New moon.
    Full and new moon.
    Same for all phases.

  14. What are tides of large amplitude that occur every two weeks called?
    Diurnal tides.
    Equatorial tides.
    Neap tides.
    Semidiurnal tides.
    Spring tides.

  15. What is the relative tidal force of the sun and moon?
    The sun and moon exert equal tidal forces on the earth.
    The sun exerts twice the tidal force of the moon.
    The sun exerts three times the tidal force of the moon.
    The moon exerts twice the tidal force of the sun.
    The moon exerts three times the tidal force of the sun.

  16. Where are the greatest tidal ranges on earth found?
    In large lakes like Lake Ontario.
    In narrow bays like the Bay of Fundy.
    In polar oceans like the Arctic Ocean.
    In the largest oceans, particularly the Pacific.
    In wide bays like the North Sea.

  17. What are formed as tidal water moves in and out between barrier islands?
    Beaches.
    Tidal deltas.
    Tidal flats.
    Wave-cut cliffs.
    Wave-cut platforms.

  18. What is the last remnant of an eroded headland called?
    Barrier island.
    Jetty.
    Sea stack.
    Spit.
    Tombolo.

  19. What is a ridge of sand that connects an island to the mainland?
    Barrier island.
    Jetty.
    Sea stack.
    Spit.
    Tombolo.

  20. What is an elongated ridge of sand that projects from the mainland into the mouth of an adjacent bay?
    Barrier island.
    Jetty.
    Sea stack.
    Spit.
    Tombolo.

  21. What are created when bay-mouth bars and barrier islands isolate bays?
    Estuaries.
    Fjords.
    Lagoons.
    Lakes.
    Seas.

  22. What are drowned river valleys called?
    Estuaries.
    Fjords.
    Lagoons.
    Lakes.
    Seas.

  23. What are drowned glacial valleys called?
    Estuaries.
    Fjords.
    Lagoons.
    Lakes.
    Seas.

  24. What is the order of coastal features found along eastern North America from north to south?
    Fjords, moraine islands, estuaries, large lagoons, organic reefs.
    Fjords, moraine islands, large lagoons, estuaries, organic reefs.
    Moraine islands, fjords, estuaries, large lagoons, organic reefs.
    Moraine islands, fjords, large lagoons, estuaries, organic reefs.
    Moraine islands, large lagoons, fjords, estuaries, organic reefs.

  25. Match each state with the coastal features it is famous for.
    State Coastal features
    Florida.
    Maine.
    Massachusetts.
    South Carolina.
    Virginia.
    Estuaries.
    Fjords.
    Large lagoons.
    Moraine islands.
    Organic reefs.

Please report any problems or errors to Dr. Heaton.