By Eric Bird
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Extra info for Coastal Cliffs: Morphology and Management
18 Chalk shattered by Pleistocene freeze-and-thaw action exposed in a cliff at Watcombe Bay, Isle of Wight. © Geostudies 46 3 Processes on Cliffs Slumping may also occur as a consequence of changes in rock volume as ground temperatures rise and fall. Many rock falls occur on cliffs during unusually cold weather, especially when stresses develop as the result of freezing and thawing of groundwater contained in the rock formation. Rock falls on Chalk cliffs in southern England occur particularly during and after cold winters in response to freezing and thawing of groundwater in the Chalk; there is expansion and contraction of ice as it forms and melts.
Cliff-face rills and gulleys do not persist on cliffs that are being cut back rapidly by marine erosion. Cliffs cut in Lower Cretaceous (Wealden) clays and sands on the south-west coast of the Isle of Wight have been dissected by gulleys cut by runoff after heavy rain. A similar cliff of soft Tertiary sandstone at Black Rock Point, on the NE coast of Port Phillip Bay, Australia, has been dissected by vertical gulleys cut by occasional runoff (waterfalls poured over the cliff here during a heavy downpour in 1972), accompanied by the exudation of fine sediment by groundwater seepage.
31 Cape Leveque on the Dampier Peninsula, Western Australia. 32 Gantheaume Point, Broome, Western Australia. © Geostudies Cliffs on sheltered sections of the coast, where strong wave action is intercepted by headlands, islands, or offshore reefs, or attenuated by a gently sloping nearshore sea floor, may show profiles partly formed by subaerial weathering and erosion. 4). Variations in cliff profiles with exposure are well illustrated around Sydney Harbour in New South Wales. 33) pass into lower and gentler cliffs and bluffs on the harbour shores, with variations related to the local fetch, which limits the strength of attack by wind-generated waves.