BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 406

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 406


IELTS Academic Reading Test



U.S. Coastal Change

A. U.S. coastal lands and sediments are constantly in motion. Breaking waves move sand along the coast, eroding sand in one area and depositing it on an adjacent beach. Tidal cycles bring sand onto the beach and carry it back into the surf. Rivers carry sediment to the coast and build deltas in the open water. Storms cause deep erosion in rock cliffs and leave thick overwash deposits in other coastal areas. Plants retain sediment in wetlands and impede movement of coastal dunes. Taken individually, each natural process of coastal transport is complex; taken collectively, they create an extraordinarily intricate system that attempts to achieve a natural balance.

B. While the same dynamic processes cause continuous change on every coast, coasts do not all respond in the same way. Interactions among the different processes and the degree to which a particular process controls change depend upon localised factors. They include the coast’s proximity to sediment-laden rivers and tectonic activity, the topography and composition of the land, the prevailing wind and weather patterns, and the configuration of the coastline and nearshore geometry. Earthscience research is showing that these surroundings determine not only the changes to the coast, but also the type of coast produced.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

C. People’s activities add another layer of complexity to the natural processes of coastal lands and materials, and these activities may have direct or indirect effects on our changing coasts. They may affect sources of new sediment taken to the coast and the movement of sediment within the coastal environment, and they may promote changes in sea level, both local and global.

People’s activities are often conducted without an adequate understanding of coastal geology and processes, and, as a result, they can lead to unforeseen degradation of coasts. Even people’s actions intended to save or improve the coast may inadvertently increase erosion. Cooperative investigations are starting to provide the crucial information needed to minimise the unintended effects of people’s disturbances along coasts.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

D. As the number of active landfills dwindles and coastal populations grow, offshore waste dumping and coastal contamination increase. This additional dumping also increases the amount of improper waste disposal affecting the coastal environment and water quality. Living coral reefs are particularly vulnerable, but other coastal environments suffer as well. Medical waste, including used hypodermic needles, was washed onto the New Jersey and New York beaches during the summer of 1988, resulting in an economic disaster for the recreation industries in the region. Fishing industries have also been severely damaged by this and more than one-third of U.S. shellfish beds are closed or restricted as a result of contamination.

E. The southeastern coast, rimmed by a series of shorelines on obstructive islands and spits, separates the mainland coastal plain from a wide, gently sloping offshore continental shelf. This generally tectonically stable region has a hurricane season during the late summer to winter months. Most rivers cutting through the low-lying coastal plain flow slowly to the sea and deposit their sand-sized sediment in bays and estuaries before reaching the coast.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

The river’s suspended load of finer particles settles out in the sounds and bays that are protected by the obstructive islands and spits. The major source of new sediment to these beaches of the southeastern United States is from the erosion of adjacent headlands and beaches, whose sand generally migrates south as a result of longshore transport. Sand transported landward from the continental shelf may also contribute to the coast and nearshore sand budget.

F. Dune erosion occurs when storm surge elevates waves higher on the beach, allowing them to attack and erode coastal dunes. As sand is removed from a dune, the front face becomes very steep, or scarped. The overall volume and elevation of the dune is reduced due to the erosion process. Dune erosion threatens houses behind the dunes as the area becomes significantly more vulnerable to future storms and the potential for overwash, which is when storm-induced waves exceed the height of the dune and transport sand over the top of the dune and deposit it inland.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Depending on the severity of the storm, the overwash can extend several hundred metres. The eroded sediment from the dune is carried offshore and stored in large sandbars. The sand dune can recover over a period of years, gaining in elevation and volume through deposits of wind-blown sand. However, because dunes rebuild over a long period, many coastal counties choose to build temporary dunes following a large storm.

G. One specific way that coasts are altered is through longshore drifting, which is mainly seen with sand beaches, although clay, silt and shingle beaches are also affected. The sand on beaches is largely supplied over time by rivers flowing into the sea. Longshore drifting is then responsible for moving this sand along the coast line. It is caused when waves approach a beach at a slight angle. After the wave has broken on the beach, the swash runs back downslope perpendicular to the shoreline. This results in sand removal downdrift from the beach. Sand is therefore transported predominantly in one direction and the beach eventually ceases to exist.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 14 – 20

The text on the previous pages has 7 paragraphs (A – G). Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below. Write the correct number (i – x) in boxes 14 – 20 on your answer sheet.

i. Pollution

ii. The Loss of Protective Sand

iii. The Role of Government

iv. Natural Processes Create Dynamic Change

v. The Influence of Climate Change

vi. Local Conditions

vii. Beach Destruction

viii. Barrier Beaches

ix. Human Intervention

x. Effects of Fish Stocks

14. Paragraph A

15. Paragraph B

16. Paragraph C

17. Paragraph D

18. Paragraph E

19. Paragraph F

20. Paragraph G

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 21 – 23

Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the text for each answer.

21. What do rivers bring to the sea that can cause various changes to coastlines?

22. What natural underground phenomenon can create coastal change in specific areas?

23. What research is being carried out to consider the inadvertent consequences of human coastal activities?

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 24 – 26

Complete each sentence with the correct ending (A – F) below. Write the correct letter (A – F) in boxes 24 – 26 on your answer sheet.

24. Growing waste disposal at sea is leading to

25. The U.S. coast in the south east suffers from

26. Overwash can significantly affect

A. the amount of government spending available.

B. vulnerability to severe storms.

C. decreasing revenues in terms of lost tourism.

D. an increase in the micro-organisms that feed on it.

E. the safety of properties behind the dune area.

F. increasing pollution from farm run-off.

IELTS Academic Reading Test


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BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 406

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IELTS Academic Reading Test


14. IV

15. VI

16. IX

17. I

18. VIII

19. II

20. VII




24. C

25. B

26. E

IELTS Academic Reading Test

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