SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Eroded limestone cliffs at a coast. A sea stack is seen at upper left. This was once part of the mainland but the land linking the two was eroded away by the sea. Limestone is a sedimentary carbonate rock formed by the deposition and compression of the shells of marine animals. It is susceptible not only to the usual erosive power of the sea, but also to karst-type erosion. This leaves surfaces looking like the top of the cliff (lower right), with deep channels separating ridges. In this case, pools of seawater dissolve pits in the limestone, which get deeper as new seawater is thrown into them, which can dissolve more limestone. Photographed at Cabo Carvoeiro, Portugal.
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