Headlands and Bays

Porthocurno Bay and Logan Rock Headland


Headlands and bays are coastal lands forms big gay that occur when there are alternate bands of resistant and less resistant rock at the coast.
The waves are constantly eroding the coast through abrasion, corrasion, corrosion and hydraulic action, forcing the coast to recede. The weaker rock erodes much faster, so it recedes more and the slabs of harder rock are left jutting out, forming headlands. The gaps in between the headlands, which are surrounded by land on three sides, are called bays.

The waves are slowed down by the headlands and the water in the bays is usually much calmer and slower. This means that the waves have less energy and therefore deposit their load of sand at the end of the bay, forming beaches. Depending on the size of the areas of weaker and harder rock, bays can be a few metres or many kilometers across.

There are many different types of headlands. A long, very narrow headland is often called a promontory. Promontories are often famous for their rugged beauty, as they provide a clear view of the ocean and a sense of being alone, since the small mass of land does not permit many people. Extremely large headlands will be known as peninsulas, while capes are headlands which are placed in a position which interrupts the general currents of the ocean.

Examples of famous bays are:

Bondi Bay, Australia


bondi_oz.pngOld Harry's Rocks, United Kingdom