||Giovanni Randazzo, Derek Jackson, Andrew Cooper
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Among the most dynamic of coastal landfoims, spits have been studied for many years. Early studies described their physical form with little attention to their formational processes. Among the first geomorphological studies of spits were those of Douglas Johnstonin the USA. Subsequently Evans presented a landmark paper on evolutionary aspects of spit development, particularly focused on recurve development. Zenkovich developed an important model of cuspate spit development based on his work on the Caspian Sea. Schwartz. motivated by the intensification of coastal occupation for industrial, residential and recreational purposes, edited a volume on spits and bars, involving a collection of previously published papers that set out the then state of the art. Since then many studies of individual spits have been undertaken and understanding of the formative processes has been much improved by advances in instrumentation to measure wave and current dynamics, higher frequency of aerial observation and topographic survey and application of new technologies such as ground-penetrating radar. New approaches to conceptual modelling of spit evolution have shown how small irregularities can create the nucleus for spit formation and, importantly, that such irregularities grow to create previously enigmatic rhythmic shoreline features (including spits) over long timescales.