About this course

Since ancient times, in order to navigate coastal regions safely, there was a need to be able to discern coastal conditions and hazards based on general land mass observations. By the time a systematic study of coastal geology and geomorphology began, there already existed a large body of observational knowledge on seacoasts throughout the world and a well-developed nomenclature to portray coastal landforms.

Geologists in the 19th and 20th centuries described coastal landforms, examined their origin and development as a function of geologic character, history, and dynamic processes, and devised classification schemes to organize and refine their observations.

The first part of this course discusses the coastal classification scheme developed by Francis Shepard (1973). The second part describes specific coastal environments found around the US, following Shepard’s classification outline.

Coastal Classification
Drowned River Coasts - Estuaries
Drowned Glacial Erosion Coasts
River Deposition Coasts - Deltas
Wind Deposition Coasts - Dunes
Volcanic Coasts
Sea Cliffs - Diastrophic, Erosional, and Volcanic
Marine Deposition Coasts - Barriers
Marine Deposition Coasts - Beaches
Salt Marshes
Biological Coasts
Continental Shelf Geology and Topography

Intended Audience: This course is intended for Coastal, Geotechnical, Civil, Environmental, Water Resources, and other engineers whose job description requires a comprehensive knowledge of coastal geological principles.

Publication Source: US Corp of Engineers, "Coastal Geology", Pub#EM 1110-2-1810, Jan. 1995

4 hours
Certificate of completion
Beginner level
No prerequisites
No preparation required
1 year access


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Browse course content
1 Text
1 Quiz
4 hours
Section 1.
Study Guide
Section 2.
CCM Quiz
20 questions
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