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Nature’s Own: Coastal Potholes

Nature’s Own: Coastal Potholes

Geology is a branch of science, which includes the study of the Earth, rocks, etc. It gives an insight to the history of the Earth as it provides evidence of plate tectonics, features of the Earth in the past, past climatic conditions, etc.

Any of the various coastal features, present along any coast, as a result of a combination of processes, sediments and the geology of the coast itself, are known as coastal land-forms. The coastal environment is made up of a wide variety of land-forms established in a variety of sizes and shapes, ranging from the slope of the beach, the small potholes formed along the shores, to the high cliffs. Yet, coastal land-forms are characterized into two broad categories: depositional formations and erosional formations. The formation of coastal potholes is an example of erosional formation.


The formation of coastal potholes is a geological phenomenon. They circular depressions found on wave cut platforms. They are formed in the rocky channel of a turbulent stream. They are further enlarged by the constant the motion of waves and the abrading action of pebbles. Groundwater also plays a significant role in the creation and sustenance of these potholes. Other natural occurrences, such as climate, temperature, wind, and (though somewhat indirectly) gravity also plays a major role in coastal processes.


 The hydrology in the potholes are very complex and diverse, with pronounced changes occurring within just a few feet. This hydrologic complexity translates into a high biological diversity. Thus providing habitat to various flora and fauna. It is home to numerous crabs, small fish, small reptiles and various sea weeds and water plants.


Apart from providing habitat to a variety of vegetation and reptiles, the potholes, in most instances are very helpful. The potholes are usually a permanent source of water and are important in summers and in times of droughts. Fish also take refuge in these potholes during the drought season, thus helping fishermen keep up their income. Surprisingly, they also help control mosquitoes, when the area is re-flooded. The potholes are also essential for migrating birds. Since it is important for migratory birds, it also attracts keen birdwatchers. This is further a boost for the local economy.

coastal potholes

About samruddhi mahapatra

Pursuing English Hons. in Kirori Mal College, an avid reader and a keen writer.

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