New Zealand Coastline Essay

Amazing Essays
The factors that have formed New Zealand’s Coastline

The land mass of New Zealand is the raised portion of the submerged continent of Zealandia. Zealandia is 4 million square kilometres, but only 7% makes up the country known as New Zealand. New Zealand has jurisdiction over the largest ocean zone in the world. The extensive coastline stretches over 15,000 kilometres in length. It is home to vast varieties of environments that range from sandy beaches to rugged cliffs and beyond. Many iconic features have occurred as a result of physical processes such as coastal (Tides, Waves and Currents) and atmospheric (Wind and Rain). As well as these examples we will also look at the Terrestrial (Land) processes that have influenced or been influenced
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The Spit is the longest in the country, reaching 25 km in length. (DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION, (n.d)). The Maori name for Farewell Spit is Onetahua which gives an accurate description of what the spit is; heaped up sand. (100% pure New Zealand, (n.d)). The spit is thought to have started forming 14,000 years ago at the end of the ice age.
The spit originally started from the sediments in the fast short flowing rivers of the Southern Alps. These sediments, in times of flood, stain the Tasman Sea by dropping the denser sediment. The sparse sediment continues to the Cook Straight where it comes to rest at the tip of the South Island. It is estimated, in 1947, that 3.4 million cubic metres of sand is dropped on the farewell spit every year. This is resulting in the spit slowly lengthening. (DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION, 2006) The dunes on the farewell spit can be divided into older and younger dunes. The older dunes are heavily vegetated and have permeant longitudinal dunes. Their axes are parallel to the westerly wind direction. The younger dunes are bare of vegetation excluding small patches. They are the Barchan type dune caused by a dominant westerly that slowly moves towards the end of the
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The West Coast Sea at high tide forms the blowhole effect. The sea spray and the waves at high tide are especially distinctive in carving out the pancake feature. The term Pancake is scientifically described as stylobedding. This means that the layers of Limestone are separated by a thin layer of mudstone. The pancake arrangement forms out of the waves and tides eroding the mudstone faster than the limestone (McSaveney, E, & Nathan, S, 2013). Currents don’t play a perceivable part in the shaping or formation of the Pancake rocks.

Human
The human influence over this area has been almost non-existent. This is a natural feature that has been formed over millions year. This being said however, the rocks have been turned into a site for tourism as they are an interesting piece of landscape that is rarely seen. The government has placed these rocks under protection from people wanting to buy or destroy the rocks. Pancake rock is a sight of great interest to tourists as, in high tide, it doesn’t disappoint no matter the weather. It is also one of the small numbers of this type of rocks in the world which intrigues geologists.

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