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Rock Street, San Francisco

Cliffs are giant land masses of rocks and sediments that rise at an almost a 90° angle. They are commonly formed near waterfalls, oceans, valleys and high up in mountains, due to processes such as erosion and weathering. Weathering play a vital role in the formation of cliffs. This process is stated to be of natural events which break down pieces of rocks to give the coastline its shape. These natural events include wind or rain, freeze thaw and salt crystallisation which have minimal effects on the cliffs at a short period of time whereas colossal hazards/ events such as hurricanes and storms can have a dramatic effect of the erosion rate at cliffs. May, (1971), remarked that the most substantial losses occurred in winter where rainfall and winds were at their peak. In coastal areas such as Dorset, which is both concordant, immense winds and waves of long fetches break off soft or less resistant material and rocks which leaves the more resistant rocks exposed therefore channelling the formation on cliffs demonstrated at the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland. The definition of a concordant coast is when coastline has alternating layers of hard rock and soft rock that run parallel to the coast. The soft rock in usually protected from erosion as the hard rock acts as a protective barrier. Landforms such as Coves can be formed if the hard rock has been ruptured through therefore leaving the soft rock exposed to erosion (e.g. Lulworth Cove).
Furthermore, previous coastal studies carried out by Johonnessen et al (1982) concluded that heat of salts on salt crystallisation was possibly the main erosive mechanism above high tide on sunny, south facing sandstone cliffs for example east cliff. The average surface reading of NaCl are 27ppm (De Wolf, 2001). This study was constructed in Brighton therefore results will approximately be similar in Dorset.

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