Feeder bluff

The geomorphological term feeder bluff is not a standard, widely accepted geologic term; its use has been limited to the Puget Sound region. The concept was apparently first discussed at Western Washington University. The term feeder bluff has been applied to certain coastal cliffs or headlands that provide sediment to down-current beaches as the result of wave action on the bluff.

A bluff will be more susceptible to erosion if the sediment is unconsolidated, and more resistant in crystalline rocks, like granite. Rocks that are heavily fractured are also very likely to suffer from erosion because the water can flow between the cracks to speed up the process. A bluff will retreat towards land as the erosion processes continue.

The term has not been extensively researched; specific criteria have not been developed to distinguish "feeder bluffs" from other types of bluffs; and quantities and rates of sediment supply to beaches and the littoral drift are unspecified and unknown. The overall contribution of "feeder bluffs" to beach processes, unlike the well-researched effects of sediment from rivers, is still undetermined.


  • Easterbrook, Don J. (1999). Surface Processes and Landforms (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-860958-0.
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