Environmental Protection Agency Narragansett Bay Commission University of Rhode Island Office of Marine Programs

Estuarine Science

Tectonic Estuary


San Francisco Bay

The earth's crust is constantly in motion. This motion causes large cracks or faults and folds to form in the crust. Often due to folding and faulting, the land sinks or subsides. Tectonic estuaries are created when the sea fills in the "hole" or basin that was formed by the sinking land. San Francisco Bay is a good example of this type of estuary.



Go to:   Coastal plain estuaries ~ Tectonic estuaries
Bar-built estuaries ~ Fjords

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"Estuaries Classified by Geologic Features"


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