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A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean, lake, or another bay.[1][2][3] A large bay is usually called a gulf, sea, sound, or bight. A cove is a type of smaller bay with a circular inlet and narrow entrance. A fjord is a particularly steep bay shaped by glacial activity. Bays can be the estuary of a river, such as the Chesapeake Bay, an estuary of the Susquehanna River.[2] Bays may also be nested within each other; for example, James Bay
James Bay
is an arm of Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay
in northeastern Canada. Some large bays, such as the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
and the Hudson Bay, have varied marine geology. The land surrounding a bay often reduces the strength of winds and blocks waves. Bays were significant in the history of human settlement because they provided safe places for fishing. Later they were important in the development of sea trade as the safe anchorage they provide encouraged their selection as ports.[4] The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
Sea
(UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea, defines a bay as a well-marked indentation whose penetration is in such proportion to the width of its mouth as to contain land-locked waters and constitute more than a mere curvature of the coast. An indentation shall not, however, be regarded as a bay unless its area is as large as, or larger than, that of the semi-circle whose diameter is a line drawn across the mouth of that indentation. Formation[edit] There are various ways from which bays can be created. The largest bays have developed as a result of plate tectonics.[4] As the super-continent Pangaea
Pangaea
broke up along curved and indented fault lines, the continents moved apart and the world's largest bays formed. These include the Gulf of Guinea, Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
and the Bay
Bay
of Bengal, which is the largest bay in the world.[4] Another way bays form is via glacial and river erosion.[4] A bay formed by a glacier is a fjord. Rias are created by rivers and are characterised by more gradual slopes. Currents can make waves more constant, and soft rocks speed erosion. Hard rock eroded less quickly, leaving headlands. The Gulf of California
Gulf of California
is an example of a bay created by plate tectonics as Baja California
Baja California
peninsula moves away from the Mexican mainland. See also[edit]

Bay
Bay
platform Great capes Headlands and bays

References[edit]

^ "Definition of BAY". Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved March 21, 2017.  ^ a b "Chesapeake Bay, Maryland". Maryland Manual On-Line. Maryland State Archives. November 28, 2016. Retrieved March 21, 2017.  ^ ""bay"". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. Retrieved March 21, 2017.  ^ a b c d Carreck, Rosalind, ed. (1982). The Family Encyclopedia of Natural History. The Hamlyn Publishing Group. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-11-202257-2. 

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Coastal
Coastal
geography

Landforms

Anchialine pool Archipelago Atoll Avulsion Ayre Barrier island Bay Baymouth bar Bight Bodden Brackish marsh Cape Channel Cliff Coast Coastal
Coastal
plain Coastal
Coastal
waterfall Continental margin Continental shelf Coral reef Cove Dune

cliff-top

Estuary Firth Fjard Fjord Freshwater marsh Fundus Gat Geo Gulf Gut Headland Inlet Intertidal wetland Island Islet Isthmus Lagoon Machair Marine terrace Mega delta Mouth bar Mudflat Natural arch Peninsula Reef Regressive delta Ria River delta Salt marsh Shoal Shore Skerry Sound Spit Stack Strait Strand plain Submarine canyon Tidal island Tidal marsh Tide pool Tied island Tombolo Windwatt

Beaches

Beach
Beach
cusps Beach
Beach
evolution Coastal
Coastal
morphodynamics Beach
Beach
ridge Beachrock Pocket beach Raised beach Recession Shell beach Shingle beach Storm beach Wash margin

Processes

Blowhole Cliffed coast Coastal
Coastal
biogeomorphology Coastal
Coastal
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Sea
cave Sea
Sea
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Wave
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Wind
wave Wrack zone

Management

Accretion Coastal
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Intertidal zone Littoral zone Physical oceanography Region of freshwater influence

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