Cove

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This article is about the coastal feature. For other uses, see Cove (disambiguation).

A cove is a small type of bay or coastal inlet. Coves usually have narrow, restricted entrances, are often circular or oval, and are often situated within a larger bay. Small, narrow, sheltered bays, inlets, creeks, or recesses in a coast are often considered coves. Colloquially, the term can be used to describe a sheltered bay.

Geomorphology describes coves as precipitously walled and rounded cirque-like openings as in a valley extending into or down a mountainside, or in a hollow or nook of a cliff or steep mountainside.

Coves are formed by differential erosion. Differential erosion occurs when softer rocks are worn away faster than the harder rocks surrounding them. These rocks further erode to form a circular bay with a narrow entrance called a cove.

McWay Cove, California, USA

An example of a cove is Lulworth Cove on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, England. West of it a second cove, Stair Hole, is forming.

Two examples of how coves form. The rock types are those of Lulworth Cove. In example A a river breaks through the resistant chalk back rock and limestone leaving the weak clays to be rapidly eroded. In example B the sea breaks through the limestone, perhaps by forming a cave, and then erodes the clay away.

References[edit]

  • Jackson, Julia A (1997). Glossary of Geology (4th ed.). Alexanadria, VA: American Geological Institute. pp. 146–147. ISBN 0-922152-34-9. 
  • Clark, John O. E.; Stiegler, Stella (2000). The Facts on File: Dictionary of Earth Science. New York: Market House Books Ltd.