Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Huge 2014 British storms shook cliffs more than ever previously recorded

04.02.2015

The violent winter storms that rocked the United Kingdom in 2014 had the power to physically shake cliffs to a degree in excess of anything recorded previously, according to a new study.

A team at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom used seismometers, laser scanning and video cameras to evaluate the impact of the massive waves – up to eight meters (26 feet) high – that struck the cliffs in Porthleven, West Cornwall, during January and February of last year.


Storm waves at Porthleven, Cornwall 2014

Claire Earlie

In a paper accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, the team from the Coastal Processes Research Group at Plymouth University found that the level of shaking was of an order of magnitude greater than ever previously recorded.

They also recorded 1,350 cubic meters (47,675 cubic feet) of cliff face being eroded along a 300-meter (984-foot) stretch of coastline in just two weeks – a cliff retreat rate more than 100 times larger than the long-term average.

“Coastal cliff erosion from storm waves is observed worldwide but the processes are notoriously difficult to measure during extreme storm wave conditions when most erosion normally occurs, limiting our understanding of cliff processes,” said Claire Earlie, a PhD student at the School of Marine Science and Engineering at Plymouth University, and lead author of the new study.

“Over January-February 2014, during the most energetic Atlantic storm period since at least 1950, with deep water significant wave heights of six to eight meters (20 to 26 feet), cliff-top ground motions showed vertical ground displacements in excess of 50 to 100 microns; an order of magnitude larger than observations made previously anywhere in the world,” she said.

Using seismometers on loan from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., Earlie and the team embedded the instruments seven meters (23 feet) from the cliff edge. Within two weeks, they were just five meters (16 feet) from the edge, such had been the rate of erosion.

Terrestrial laser scanner surveys conducted from the beach also revealed a cliff face volume loss two orders of magnitude larger than the long-term erosion rate.

“The results imply that erosion of coastal cliffs exposed to extreme storm waves is highly episodic and that long-term rates of cliff erosion will depend on the frequency and severity of extreme storm wave impacts,” said Paul Russell, a professor in the School of Marine Science and Engineering at Plymouth University, who helped to supervise the project and is a co-author of the new paper.

“Our coastline acts as a natural barrier to the sea, but what we’ve seen right across South West England is unprecedented damage and change – from huge amounts of sand being stripped from beaches to rapid erosion of cliffs,” added Gerd Masselink, professor of coastal geomorphology in the School of Marine Science and Engineering at Plymouth University and a co-author of the new study.

“These figures will help to explain some of the invisible forces being brought to bear on our coastal structures, and highlight the risk of sudden cliff damage,” he added.

The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing more than 60,000 members in 139 countries. Join the conversation onFacebook, Twitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.

 Notes for Journalists
Journalists and public information officers (PIOs) of educational and scientific institutions who have registered with AGU can download a PDF copy of this article by clicking on this link:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL062534/abstract?campaign=wlytk-41855.5282060185

Or, you may order a copy of the final paper by emailing your request to Nanci Bompey at nbompey@agu.org. Please provide your name, the name of your publication, and your phone number.

Neither the paper nor this press release is under embargo.
Title
“Coastal cliff ground motions and response to extreme storm waves”

Authors:
Claire S. Earlie: School of Marine Science and Engineering, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK;

Adam, P. Young: Integrative Oceanography Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA;

Gerd Masselink and Paul E. Russell: School of Marine Science and Engineering, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK.

Contact information for the authors:
Claire S. Earlie: +44 7590 025745, claire.earlie@plymouth.ac.uk


AGU Contact:
Nanci Bompey
+1 (202) 777-7524
nbompey@agu.org

University of Plymouth Contact:
Andrew Merrington
+44 (0)1752 588003
andrew.merrington@plymouth.ac.uk

Nanci Bompey | American Geophysical Union
Further information:
http://www.agu.org

Further reports about: Coastal Geophysical Marine Oceanography Plymouth ground motions long-term storms waves

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice
24.04.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Climate change in a warmer-than-modern world: New findings of Kiel Researchers
24.04.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>