Last updated
Shore of Grand Anse Beach, Saint George Parish, Grenada, West Indies Grand Anse Beach Grenada.jpg
Shore of Grand Anse Beach, Saint George Parish, Grenada, West Indies
Sunrise on the Jersey Shore at Spring Lake, New Jersey, U.S. Spring Lake, New Jersey Beach at Sunrise.jpg
Sunrise on the Jersey Shore at Spring Lake, New Jersey, U.S.
The rocky shoreline of Taylor Head Provincial Park in Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia, Canada Taylor Head Provincial Park, Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia, Canada.jpg
The rocky shoreline of Taylor Head Provincial Park in Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia, Canada
Shore at Heishijiao Geological Park, Dalian, China Heishijiao Park, Dalian (2).jpg
Shore at Heishijiao Geological Park, Dalian, China
Aerial view of the shoreline at the Phi Phi Islands, Thailand Monkey Bay.jpg
Aerial view of the shoreline at the Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

A shore or a shoreline is the fringe of land at the edge of a large body of water, such as an ocean, sea, or lake. In physical oceanography, a shore is the wider fringe that is geologically modified by the action of the body of water past and present, while the beach is at the edge of the shore, representing the intertidal zone where there is one. [1] In contrast to a coast, a shore can border any body of water, while the coast must border an ocean or a sea. Therefore, in that sense, a coast is a type of shore. However, the word "coast" often refers to an area far wider than the shore, often stretching miles into the interior.


Shores are influenced by the topography of the surrounding landscape, as well as by water induced erosion, such as waves. The geological composition of rock and soil dictates the type of shore which is created.


Riviera is an Italian word for "shoreline", [2] [3] [4] ultimately derived from Latin ripa ("riverbank"). It came to be applied as a proper name to the coast of the Ligurian Sea, in the form riviera ligure, then shortened to riviera. Historically, the Ligurian Riviera extended from Capo Corvo (Punta Bianca) south of Genoa, north and west into what is now French territory past Monaco and sometimes as far as Marseilles. [2] [5] [6] Today, this coast is divided into the Italian Riviera and the French Riviera, although the French use the term "Riviera" to refer to the Italian Riviera and call the French portion the "Côte d'Azur". [3]

As a result of the fame of the Ligurian rivieras, the term came into English to refer to any shoreline, especially one that is sunny, topographically diverse and popular with tourists. [2] Such places using the term include the Australian Riviera in Queensland and the Turkish Riviera along the Aegean Sea. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coast</span> Area where land meets the sea or ocean

The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the ocean, or as a line that forms the boundary between the land and the coastline. The Earth has around 620,000 kilometres (390,000 mi) of coastline. Coasts are important zones in natural ecosystems, often home to a wide range of biodiversity. On land, they harbor important ecosystems such as freshwater or estuarine wetlands, which are important for bird populations and other terrestrial animals. In wave-protected areas they harbor saltmarshes, mangroves or seagrasses, all of which can provide nursery habitat for finfish, shellfish, and other aquatic species. Rocky shores are usually found along exposed coasts and provide habitat for a wide range of sessile animals and various kinds of seaweeds. Along tropical coasts with clear, nutrient-poor water, coral reefs can often be found between depths of 1–50 meters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marine biology</span> Scientific study of organisms that live in the ocean

Marine biology is the scientific study of the biology of marine life, organisms in the sea. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather than on taxonomy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lagoon</span> Shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by a narrow landform

A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by a narrow landform, such as reefs, barrier islands, barrier peninsulas, or isthmuses. Lagoons are commonly divided into coastal lagoons and atoll lagoons. They have also been identified as occurring on mixed-sand and gravel coastlines. There is an overlap between bodies of water classified as coastal lagoons and bodies of water classified as estuaries. Lagoons are common coastal features around many parts of the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coastal erosion</span> Displacement of land along the coastline

Coastal erosion is the loss or displacement of land, or the long-term removal of sediment and rocks along the coastline due to the action of waves, currents, tides, wind-driven water, waterborne ice, or other impacts of storms. The landward retreat of the shoreline can be measured and described over a temporal scale of tides, seasons, and other short-term cyclic processes. Coastal erosion may be caused by hydraulic action, abrasion, impact and corrosion by wind and water, and other forces, natural or unnatural.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Longshore drift</span> Sediment moved by the longshore current

Longshore drift from longshore current is a geological process that consists of the transportation of sediments along a coast parallel to the shoreline, which is dependent on the angle incoming wave direction. Oblique incoming wind squeezes water along the coast, and so generates a water current which moves parallel to the coast. Longshore drift is simply the sediment moved by the longshore current. This current and sediment movement occur within the surf zone. The process is also known as littoral drift.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Barrier island</span> Coastal dune landform that forms by wave and tidal action parallel to the mainland coast

Barrier islands are coastal landforms and a type of dune system that are exceptionally flat or lumpy areas of sand that form by wave and tidal action parallel to the mainland coast. They usually occur in chains, consisting of anything from a few islands to more than a dozen. They are subject to change during storms and other action, but absorb energy and protect the coastlines and create areas of protected waters where wetlands may flourish. A barrier chain may extend uninterrupted for over a hundred kilometers, excepting the tidal inlets that separate the islands, the longest and widest being Padre Island of Texas. Sometimes an important inlet may close permanently, transforming an island into a peninsula, thus creating a barrier peninsula, often including a beach, barrier beach. The length and width of barriers and overall morphology of barrier coasts are related to parameters including tidal range, wave energy, sediment supply, sea-level trends, and basement controls. The amount of vegetation on the barrier has a large impact on the height and evolution of the island.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Groyne</span> Structure extending into a body of water

A groyne is a rigid hydraulic structure built perpendicularly from an ocean shore or a river bank, interrupting water flow and limiting the movement of sediment. It is usually made out of wood, concrete, or stone. In the ocean, groynes create beaches, prevent beach erosion caused by longshore drift where this is the dominant process and facilitate beach nourishment. There is also often cross-shore movement which if longer than the groyne will limit its effectiveness. In a river, groynes slow down the process of erosion and prevent ice-jamming, which in turn aids navigation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Deposition (geology)</span> Geological process in which sediments, soil and rocks are added to a landform or landmass

Deposition is the geological process in which sediments, soil and rocks are added to a landform or landmass. Wind, ice, water, and gravity transport previously weathered surface material, which, at the loss of enough kinetic energy in the fluid, is deposited, building up layers of sediment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Continental shelf</span> Coastal and oceanic landform

A continental shelf is a portion of a continent that is submerged under an area of relatively shallow water, known as a shelf sea. Much of these shelves were exposed by drops in sea level during glacial periods. The shelf surrounding an island is known as an insular shelf.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Raised beach</span> Emergent coastal landform

A raised beach, coastal terrace, or perched coastline is a relatively flat, horizontal or gently inclined surface of marine origin, mostly an old abrasion platform which has been lifted out of the sphere of wave activity. Thus, it lies above or under the current sea level, depending on the time of its formation. It is bounded by a steeper ascending slope on the landward side and a steeper descending slope on the seaward side. Due to its generally flat shape, it is often used for anthropogenic structures such as settlements and infrastructure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Littoral zone</span> Part of a sea, lake, or river that is close to the shore

The littoral zone or nearshore is the part of a sea, lake, or river that is close to the shore. In coastal ecology, the littoral zone includes the intertidal zone extending from the high water mark, to coastal areas that are permanently submerged — known as the foreshore — and the terms are often used interchangeably. However, the geographical meaning of littoral zone extends well beyond the intertidal zone to include all neritic waters within the bounds of continental shelves.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beach nourishment</span>

Beach nourishment describes a process by which sediment, usually sand, lost through longshore drift or erosion is replaced from other sources. A wider beach can reduce storm damage to coastal structures by dissipating energy across the surf zone, protecting upland structures and infrastructure from storm surges, tsunamis and unusually high tides. Beach nourishment is typically part of a larger integrated coastal zone management aimed at coastal defense. Nourishment is typically a repetitive process since it does not remove the physical forces that cause erosion but simply mitigates their effects.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tidal marsh</span> Marsh subject to tidal change in water

A tidal marsh is a marsh found along rivers, coasts and estuaries which floods and drains by the tidal movement of the adjacent estuary, sea or ocean. Tidal marshes experience many overlapping persistent cycles, including diurnal and semi-diurnal tides, day-night temperature fluctuations, spring-neap tides, seasonal vegetation growth and decay, upland runoff, decadal climate variations, and centennial to millennial trends in sea level and climate. Tidal marshes are formed in areas that are sheltered from waves, in upper slops of intertidal, and where water is fresh or saline. They are also impacted by transient disturbances such as hurricanes, floods, storms, and upland fires.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coastal management</span> Preventing flooding and erosion of shorelines

Coastal management is defence against flooding and erosion, and techniques that stop erosion to claim lands. Protection against rising sea levels in the 21st century is crucial, as sea level rise accelerates due to climate change. Changes in sea level damage beaches and coastal systems are expected to rise at an increasing rate, causing coastal sediments to be disturbed by tidal energy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sedimentary budget</span>

Sedimentary budgets are a coastal management tool used to analyze and describe the different sediment inputs (sources) and outputs (sinks) on the coasts, which is used to predict morphological change in any particular coastline over time. Within a coastal environment the rate of change of sediment is dependent on the amount of sediment brought into the system versus the amount of sediment that leaves the system. These inputs and outputs of sediment then equate to the total balance of the system and more than often reflect the amounts of erosion or accretion affecting the morphology of the coast.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Orrin H. Pilkey</span>

Orrin H. Pilkey is an American Professor Emeritus of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment, at Duke University, and founder and director emeritus of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) which is currently based at Western Carolina University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beachrock</span> Sedimentary rock cemented with carbonates, formed along a shoreline

Beachrock is a friable to well-cemented sedimentary rock that consists of a variable mixture of gravel-, sand-, and silt-sized sediment that is cemented with carbonate minerals and has formed along a shoreline. Depending on location, the sediment that is cemented to form beachrock can consist of a variable mixture of shells, coral fragments, rock fragments of different types, and other materials. It can contain scattered artifacts, pieces of wood, and coconuts. Beachrock typically forms within the intertidal zone within tropical or semitropical regions. However, Quaternary beachrock is also found as far north and south as 60° latitude.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marine habitats</span> Habitat that supports marine life

Marine habitats are habitats that support marine life. Marine life depends in some way on the saltwater that is in the sea. A habitat is an ecological or environmental area inhabited by one or more living species. The marine environment supports many kinds of these habitats. Marine habitats can be divided into coastal and open ocean habitats. Coastal habitats are found in the area that extends from as far as the tide comes in on the shoreline out to the edge of the continental shelf. Most marine life is found in coastal habitats, even though the shelf area occupies only seven percent of the total ocean area. Open ocean habitats are found in the deep ocean beyond the edge of the continental shelf.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bruun Rule</span> Formula for estimating the magnitude of shoreline retreat due to changes in sea level

The Bruun Rule is a formula for estimating the magnitude of the retreat of the shoreline of a sandy shore in response to changes in sea level. Originally published in 1962 by Per Bruun, the Bruun Rule was the first to give a relationship between sea level rise and shoreline recession. The rule is a simple, two dimensional mass conversion, and remains in common use to estimate shoreline recession in response to sea level rise, despite criticism and modification, and the availability of more complex alternate models.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beaches in estuaries and bays</span> Type of beaches

Beaches in estuaries and bays (BEBs) refer to beaches that exist inside estuaries or bays and therefore are partially or fully sheltered from ocean wind waves, which are a typical source of energy to build beaches. Beaches located inside harbours and lagoons are also considered BEBs. BEBs can be unvegetated or partially unvegetated and can be made of sand, gravel or shells. As a consequence of the sheltering, the importance of other sources of wave energy, including locally generated wind waves and infragravity waves, may be more important for BEBs than for those beaches on the open coast. Boat wakes, currents driven by tides, and river inflow can also be important for BEBs. When BEBs receive insufficient wave energy, they can become inactive, and stabilised by vegetation; this may occur through both natural processes and human action. BEBs exist in all latitudes from beaches located in fjords and drowned river valleys (rias) in high latitudes to beaches located in the equatorial zone like, for example, the Amazon estuarine beaches.


  1. Pickard, George L.; William J. Emery (1990). Descriptive Physical Oceanography (5, illustrated ed.). Elsevier. pp. 7–8. ISBN   075062759X.
  2. 1 2 3 "riviera". Chambers Concise Dictionary. New Delhi: Allied Chambers. 2004. p.  1045. ISBN   9788186062364.
  3. 1 2 3 Kolb, Martina (2013). Nietzsche, Freud, Benn, and the Azure Spell of Liguria. Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press. p.  30. ISBN   978-1-4426-4329-1.
  4. The more common ones are puntellare and litorale.
  5. Baughan, Rosa (1880). Winter havens in the sunny South, a complete handbook to the Riviera. London: The Bazaar. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02.
  6. Black, Charles B. (1887). The Riviera, Or The Coast from Marseilles to Leghorn, Including Carrara, Lucca, Pisa, Pistoja and Florence (Third ed.). Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02.

Further reading