coast

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coast,

land bordering an ocean or other large body of water. The line of contact between the land and water surfaces is called the shoreline. It fluctuates with the waves and tides. Sometimes the terms coast and shore are used synonymously, but often shore is interpreted to mean only the zone between the shorelines at high tide and low tide, and coast indicates a strip of land of indefinite width landward of the shore. Classically, coasts have been designated as submergent if they resulted from a rise in the relative sea level and emergent if they resulted from a decline. Young submergent coasts usually are irregular and have deep water offshore and many good harbors, either bays or estuaries. Much of the coast of New England and most of the Atlantic coast of Europe are young submergent coasts according to this classification scheme. Gradually the submergent coast, subjected to erosive attacks of the ocean and other agents, becomes mature. Headlands are worn back to form cliffs, at the base of which deposits of eroded material accumulate as fringing beaches; spits and bars also grow up from material that is carried by currents and deposited in deeper water. The shoreline is called mature when it is smooth, the headlands having been cut away and the bays either filled up or closed off by spits. Emergent shorelines usually have shallow water for some distance offshore. Such shorelines are found along the Atlantic coast of the SE United States and along part of the coast of Argentina, near the Río de la Plata. This classification system does not adequately describe many coasts, partly because many of them exhibit features of both submergence and emergence. Because of these and other problems a classification system that is based on the most recent and predominant geologic agent forming the coast has become popular. Under this scheme, there are essentially two major types of coasts. Primary coasts are youthful coasts formed where the sea rests against a land mass whose topography was formed by terrestrial agents. These coasts include land erosion coasts (Maine), volcanic coasts (Hawaii), deposition coasts (Nile Delta coast), and fault coasts (Red Sea). Secondary coasts are formed chiefly and most recently by marine agents, and may even be primary coasts that have been severely modified by wave action. These coasts include wave erosion coasts, marine deposition coasts, and coasts built by organisms (reefs and mangrove coasts). The nature of the coastline of a country or a state is an important factor in its economic development because it relates to defense, fishing, recreation, and overseas commerce.

Bibliography

See C. A. M. King, Beaches and Coasts (2d ed. 1972).

COAST

(kohst) An optical interferometer at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory.

coast

[kōst]
(engineering)
A memory feature on a radar which, when activated, causes the range and angle systems to continue to move in the same direction and at the same speed as that required to track an original target.
(geography)
The general region of indefinite width that extends from the sea inland to the first major change in terrain features.

coast

1. 
a. the line or zone where the land meets the sea or some other large expanse of water
b. (in combination): coastland
2. US
a. a slope down which a sledge may slide
b. the act or an instance of sliding down a slope

COAST

References in classic literature ?
This circumstance had suggested to him the idea of supplying the Russian establishment regularly by means of the annual ship that should visit the settlement at the mouth of the Columbia (or Oregon) ; by this means the casual trading vessels would be excluded from those parts of the coast where their malpractices were so injurious to the Russians.
I considered, as a great public acquisition, the commencement of a settlement on that point of the western coast of America, and looked forward with gratification to the time when its descendants should have spread themselves through the whole length of that coast, covering it with free and independent Americans, unconnected with us but by the ties of blood and interest, and enjoying like us the rights of self-government.
From Valencia, the homeward course will be continued, skirting along the coast of Spain.
Some months later, on the coast of Syria, I caught some of my fish ornamented with the ring.
But I was then, and still am, at loss to account for the presence of German soldiers upon the English coast so far from London, which history suggests would have been the natural goal of an invader.
I can only account for it by assuming that either England was temporarily conquered by the Teutons, or that an invasion of so vast proportions was undertaken that German troops were hurled upon the England coast in huge numbers and that landings were necessarily effected at many places simultaneously.
Already Dantes had visited this maritime Bourse two or three times, and seeing all these hardy free-traders, who supplied the whole coast for nearly two hundred leagues in extent, he had asked himself what power might not that man attain who should give the impulse of his will to all these contrary and diverging minds.
The steam hung upon the water for many minutes, hiding the third Martian and the coast altogether.
The coast grew faint, and at last indistinguishable amid the low banks of clouds that were gathering about the sinking sun.
It was a capricious breeze, coming from the coast, and after it passed the sea became smooth.
Nothing but coast," he said, gruffly, for papa was always lecturing him, and letting the girls do just as they liked.
Hither then we resolved to go; and, accordingly, though after a tedious course, and very much straitened for provisions, we came within sight of the coast very early in the morning; and upon reflection on the past circumstances of danger we were in, we resolved to put into a small river, which, however, had depth enough of water for us, and to see if we could, either overland or by the ship's pinnace, come to know what ships were in any port thereabouts.