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A bay is an area of water mostly surrounded or otherwise demarcated by land. Bays generally have calmer waters than the surrounding sea, due to the surrounding land blocking some waves and often reducing winds. It can also be an inlet in a lake or pond.

A large bay may be called a gulf, a sea, a sound, or a bight. A narrow bay may also be called a fjord if its sides are relatively steep. A cove is a circular or oval coastal inlet with a narrow entrance; some coves may be referred to as bays.

Most small bays are formed as soft rock or clay is eroded by waves. Any hard rock is eroded less quickly, leaving headlands. Any bay may contain fish and other sea creatures or be adjacent to other bays (for example, James Baymarker is adjacent to Hudson Baymarker). Large bays, such as the Bay of Bengalmarker and the Hudson Baymarker, have varied marine geology.

There are various ways that bays can be created. For example, the water level of a sea can rise, flooding the shore and creating a bay.

When the coast is made of alternate bands of hard and soft rok,thesoft rock gets eroded quickly to form a bay.the hard more resistant rock stands out as headlands.

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