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 New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon
16.07.2018 | University of California - Santa Cruz

nachricht Scientists discover Earth's youngest banded iron formation in western China
12.07.2018 | University of Alberta

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>