There is a term for almost every type of landform that abuts water as well as every body of water that abuts land. But — sometimes the same term can mean one thing in one place and another elsewhere. Other times two terms describe the same type of water body, depending on what part of the world you are in.
Test the waters in this quiz about where the sea meets the land. Answers are on page 24.

1. All of these words describe the same thing, except only one is found in a sea. The other three are found in rivers or lakes. Which is the odd one out? Give yourself extra credit if you know what these are.
A. Ait
B. Eyot
C. Holm
D. Skerry

2. Depending on who you ask, this landform can be as simple as a bend or curve in the boundary between the land and water. Or, it could be a bay that — regardless of the wind direction — could be sailed out of using a single tack in a square-rigged sailing vessel. It is a…
A. Bight
B. Cay
C. Drift
D. Lagoon
3. True or false? Bays are only connected to an ocean or sea. There are no bays in lakes.

4. All but one of these are terms used to describe a narrow passage of water connecting two larger bodies of water, or two parts of a larger body of water. Which is the odd one out?
A. Channel
B. Fjord
C. Sound
D. Strait

5. This landform, which is connected to the mainland, is surrounded by water on three sides. Maryland’s and Virginia’s Eastern Shore (and many Virginia plantations) are located on this type of landform.

6. An inlet is an arm of a large body of water that stretches inland. What is the largest inlet on the East Coast?

7. These are all landforms that project into water. Rank them from smallest to largest.
Cape, Point, Spit

8. Humans have built structures that project into the water. Do you know what the difference is between a wharf and a pier?
(Hint: There is an angle to this question.)


9. What is the “coastline paradox”?
A. A coastline does not have a single, well-defined length because it all depends on what unit is being used to measure the coastline.
B. A coastline does not have a single, well-defined length because it is constantly changing because of erosion
C. A coastline does not have a single, well-defined length because there is disagreement over the definition of what constitutes a coast.
D. A coastline does not have a single, well-defined length because it changes with the tide.

Answers

1. D These are terms for tiny islands
2. A
3. False
4. B
5. Peninsula
6. Chesapeake Bay
7. Spit, Point, Cape
8. A wharf is parallel to the shore; a pier extends from the shore, usually at a right angle
9. A