Coastal Formations

Coasts are defined by the action of the sea upon them more than anything else. Coastal formations like sea stacks, arches, beaches, sea caves, stumps, and blowholes, are formed through the repeated pounding of the sea on a rocky coast.

Blue Grotto
Blue Grotto, Capri, Italy. This is an example of a sea cave.  Photo by Frédéric de Goldschmidt, CC license, Wikimedia.

The coast of Oregon and Washington, Cornwall in England, and the Norwegian Coast are some examples of places with many of these coastal formations.

This is a sea arch on Kilauea, Hawaii. Image by Frank Kovalcheck, CC license, Wikimedia.
This is a blow hole at Dudley Beach, Newcastle, Australia. A blowhole is a hole in the rock that sea water is pushed through with wave action. Beneath this blowhole is an underwater sea cave. The water has worn a hole clear through the rick from the inside. Photo by Jonathon Coombes, released to the public domain, Wikimedia.

Here is a Coastal Formations Worksheet for kids to label.

Coastal Formations Worksheet


Here are the answers:

  1. Blow hole
  2. Fault or Joint
  3. Sea Cave
  4. Sea Arch
  5. Beach
  6. Sea Stack
  7. Stump

Additional Layers

  • Books where sea caves figure largely into the plot include Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Over Sea, Under Stone.
  • Concepts like Coastal Formations and other landforms are both science and geography.    Geography is part science, part sociology, and part art.
  • Another name for sea cave is littoral cave.  Littoral caves are not always on the sea coast.  Any cave that was formed by the sea in the past is a littoral cave.  Learn about the littoral caves in Norway that are now more than 100 feet from the coast.
  • Make a map of places in the world that have sea caves and stacks and arches.  Here are a few: Normandy, France; Washington and Oregon Coast; Fingal Cave, Scotland; Blue Grotto, Capri; Phang Nga Bay, Thailand; Hawaii; Cornwall Coast, England; and Channel Islands, California.

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