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Abstract

Hard rock cliffs represent approximately 75% of the world's coastline. The rate and nature of the mechanisms that govern the retreat of these cliffs remain poorly constrained, primarily because conventional approaches employed to monitor these processes are generally inadequate for describing cliff erosion processes directly. These techniques are usually centred upon the interpretation of data collected periodically from aerial sensors, including stereographic aerial photographs and more recently air-borne LIDAR. These methods are generally not capable of assessing the pattern of erosion on the cliff face due to the oblique viewing angles, and hence tend to concentrate upon the resultant recession of the cliff top rather than change on the cliff face. Thus, processes of undercutting and small scale iterative failures of localized sections of the cliff face are generally not recorded. It is only when a failure affects the cliff top that any retreat is recorded. It is therefore unsurprising that cliff erosion is commonly deemed to be episodic.
This paper presents a new approach to detailed cliff process monitoring using terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), which directly monitors changes on coastal cliff faces. The method allows the quantification of failures ranging in scale from the detachment of blocks of a few centimetres in dimension through to large rock, debris or soil, falls, slides and flows over 1000 m3. The collection of data is on-site and rapid and hence cost effective, providing a detailed description of the nature of coastal cliff erosion.
This paper describes the methodological approach and demonstrates the range of results which can be generated, here shown for 16 months of monitoring data collected for a near-vertical cliff section on the coast of North Yorkshire, UK. The results demonstrate that terrestrial laser scanning can be used to quantify cliff failures to a previously unobtainable precision. The results reveal a strong spatial and temporal pattern of cliff collapse which contradicts commonly held perceptions of the nature of coastal cliff development.

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Published In

cover image Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology
Volume 38Number 4November 2005
Pages: 363 - 375

History

Received: 24 January 2005
Accepted: 26 May 2005
Published: November 2005

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Keywords

  1. erosion
  2. monitoring
  3. remote sensing
  4. slope stability

Authors

Affiliations

N.J. Rosser
Department of Geography, University of Durham, Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK (e-mail: [email protected])
D.N. Petley
Department of Geography, University of Durham, Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK (e-mail: [email protected])
M. Lim
Department of Geography, University of Durham, Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK (e-mail: [email protected])
S.A. Dunning
Department of Geography, University of Durham, Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK (e-mail: [email protected])
R.J. Allison
Department of Geography, University of Durham, Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK (e-mail: [email protected])

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Citing Literature

  • Assessing the relationship between weather conditions and rockfall using terrestrial laser scanning to improve risk management, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 10.5194/nhess-23-343-2023, 23, 1, (343-360), (2023).
  • Research on the Detection and Measurement of Roughness of Dam Concrete Layers Using 3D Laser Scanning Technology, Sustainability, 10.3390/su15032649, 15, 3, (2649), (2023).
  • Quantitative Characterization of Coastal Cliff Retreat and Landslide Processes at Portonovo–Trave Cliffs (Conero, Ancona, Italy) Using Multi-Source Remote Sensing Data, Remote Sensing, 10.3390/rs15174120, 15, 17, (4120), (2023).
  • Terrestrial Laser Scanning for the Detection of Coastal Changes along Rauk Coasts of Gotland, Baltic Sea, Remote Sensing, 10.3390/rs15061667, 15, 6, (1667), (2023).
  • Sediment transport trend and its influencing factors in coastal bedrock island sea areas-a case study of Chudao island, China, Frontiers in Marine Science, 10.3389/fmars.2023.1220331, 10, (2023).
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