Geography Coastal Fieldwork Report Ben Sparrow

Map of Mornington Peninsula showing the location of Cape Schanck, Gunnamatta Beach and St Andrews Beach.

Figure 0.1 Source

Cape Schanck

Coastal Features

Coastal Features at Cape Schanck Figure1.1


Stacks are pillars of rock standing out at the end of a headland. This stack was first formed when an arch collapsed leaving the stack behind. As seen in figure 1.1 this stack is mostly made out of basalt and a base of sandstone. also has a small amount of foliage on top.

Wave-cut platform

This wave cut platform was formed over time by the cliffs slowly wearing away leaving behind this rock platform. It slopes from the high tide mark to the low tide mark.


Over time the cliffs have slowly collapsed, as the wave smashed against them, slowly they fall into the sea leaving steep cliffs behind. As seen in figure 1.1 these cliffs consist of basalt.

Coastal processes

Figure 1.2


Over time small bits of rock and sand picked up by the water scratches against the cliffs, this slowly erodes the cliff and causes a cave to form which can be seen in figure 1.2.

Hydraulic Action

Every time a wave smashes against the cracks in the cliff this forces air up the cracks which causes the cracks to expand eventually causing chunks of rocks to break off, this can cause cliffs like the one seen in figure 1.2.


Every time a large wave comes in it causes the rocks on the beach seen in figure 1.2 to smash into each other causing them to break apart and become smaller.

Gunnamatta Beach


Figure 2.1


Over long periods of time, little bits of rock are slowly broken up. These small grains of sand that are the left overs of the rock are carried through the sea and are eventually deposited. When the grains are deposited they are normally deposited on the coast. This for s beachs like the one in figure 2.1


When sand is being deposited on the coast dunes will build up because the sand deposited on the beach gets blown up forming the dunes. Dunes are large hills of sand above the high tide mark. They are normally covered with vegetation.


Figure 2.2 Figure 2.3

A variety of different plants cover the dunes dunes system at Gunnamatta Beach. The plants help hold the sand down to stop the sand from blowing away which can cause damage to the dune system. In figure 2.2 you can see some salt bush and in figure 2.3 you can see some Hakea bushes.


Long shore drift

Figure 2.4 source

Long shore drift is the process of sand or the material that makes up a beach is slowly pushed along a coast because of the swish coming in at an angle due to a prevailing wing. This can often cause spits. To form


Figure 2.5

Over time the wind has blown sand away where there is no vegetation. This can cause the dunes to deteriorate. In this figure 2.5 you can see a section with no vegetation that has blown away.


Figure 2.6

In deeper sections of a beach rips will often appear. Rips are where large amounts of water washed up onto the beach retreats out to see, causing a strong current out to sea. Rips are identifiable by looking for places where the waves don't break.

St Andrews Beach

Coastal features

Figure 3.1

Wave-cut Platform

Over time large rocks or cliffs are eroded leaving behind a platform of rock just below high-tide level. This wave-cut platform is made of sandstone.


Over time erosion has caused little pools to form in the wave-cut platform, this small pools collect water during high tide or from large waves and then create small pools where small animals can live.


Over time lots of small grains are created by rocks breaking down. These small grains are then carried through the sea until they are eventually deposited on the coast. This normally causes beaches to form.

Coastal Processes

Figure 3.2


When a large amount of water is washed up it needs a way to get back out to sea. This can cause rips to form, rips are sudden rushes of water out to sea. This can pull people out, it also causes waves to stop breaking.

Longshore drift

Over time a prevailing wind pattern can cause sand to get carried down the coast by waves, this is because the wind causes the waves to push the sand along the coast, this spits to form.


Small bits of sand and rock are picked up and smashed against rocks, this causes the small grains and rocks to rub against the wave-cut platform slowly wearing it away.

Human Impacts

Cape Schanck

Figure 4.1

Trampling vegetation

As you can see in figure 4.1 there are areas where vegetation has been trampled on as there is almost no plants in the place where it has been trampling, this has caused land to erode.

Random paths

As seen in figure 4.1 there are random paths snaking there way around, just like trampeling vegetation this can cause vegetation to die and then cause the land to erode.



Figure 4,2

In gunnamatta there is also signs of trampling of vegetation, this causes the vegetation to in some cases die. This will result in the dunes being weathered at potentially blown away.

Car park

Figure 4.3

The other main unsatisfactory human impact is the car park which is located on the dunes, because it is situated on the dune system it has caused some weathering due to loss of vegetation.

St Andrews Beach

Figure 4.4

Again at St Andrews beach a major problem is trampling, in figure 4.4 you can see some dead plants that quite likely died because they were trampled on. Again this causes sand to be exposed to weathering.


Figure 4.5

As you can see in figure 4.5 there are houses located on the dunes, this for a while causedserious damage to the beach, because the houses interfered with the dune system which then caused serious harm to the beach.


Protecting the environment

Protecting the environment

One of the biggest things that protects the environment is boardwalks as they protect plants and animals from being stepped on or injured (at Cape Schnack and Gunnamatta). There is also chicken wire that stops people from getting under the railing or animals to get onto the plant, this can also stop animals from getting over (at Cape Schanck)

Figure 5.1

Educational Info

At all locations there is a variety of educational signs, telling you about wildlife which is very important as it can tell people about endangered wildlife(at all locations). The other educational information source is the signs about rips and other dangers at the beach which can cause harm(at Gunnamatta and St. Andrews).

Figure 5.2

Restricting Human Movement

A major contributor to constricting human movement is the fences which stop people from jumping of the boardwalk and walking around on the ground(at Cape Schnack and Gunnamatta). Also the paths already available are enough for people to easily get to and from the beachs meaning they don't need to run through the push, and sometimes large surrounding bushes block them(at Cape Schnack and Gunnamatta)

Figure 5.3

Restoring the environment

On some dunes there are gaps where plants have died, here there have been some new plants being planted on the dunes to try and stop the dunes from weathering(at all locations). They also planted some thicker bushes around the paths so that people couldn't go off the track, and they also have keep off signs and fences(at all locations)

Figure 5.4

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