Dramatic moment 1,000 tons of ancient rock falls from 150ft sandstone cliffs on Jurassic Coast
- The footage captures the rocks tumbling down the West Bay cliffs in Dorset
- It’s suspected the weight of groundwater weakened the cliff from underneath
The dramatic moment 1,000 tons of ancient rock falls from 150ft sandstone cliff on Jurassic Coast is caught on video.
The footage shows a huge chunk of the cliff as it suddenly crashes down in two stages at West Bay in Dorset, Bournemouth.
The rockfall happens seconds after a ‘little puff of dust’ is seen coming from the middle of the sandstone cliff as it is about to crumble.
Moments later, a 150ft tall stack falls away and slumps on to the beach. The fall immediately weakens the neighbouring rock buttress, which then goes the same way.
The footage captures the moment a huge chunk of the cliff suddenly crashing down at West Bay in Dorset, Bournemouth
As the rubble falls, a giant cloud of dust instantly begins to cover the area of the beach and its surrounding waves on the shore.
When the dust settles, a substantial pile of rubble and debris is captured sitting on the Jurassic Coast.
Thankfully, the beach was empty due to the cold and cloudy conditions on the day – had it happened on a sunnier day then members of the public could have been left badly injured or killed in an accident.
The video was taken by the Environment Agency’s fixed camera at 10.53am on January 18 on the pier at West Bay.
As the rubble falls, a giant cloud of dust begins to cover the part of the beach
The rockfall happens seconds after a ‘little puff of dust’ is seen coming from the middle of the sandstone cliff as it is about to crumble
Describing the alarming sequence of events a spokesman for Dorset Council’s Jurassic Coast Team said: ‘You can see the way these cliff falls work.
‘They fall vertically, they just collapse from the sheer weight probably caused by groundwater and the weakening of the cliff from underneath.
‘But it’s not over yet because the nextdoor buttress has been weakened by the fall and there it goes. My goodness, it is enormous.
‘As the dust begins to clear the sun comes out and shines a light on the enormous pile of debris left.
‘I think we should all be very grateful there was nobody anywhere near this when it took place.’
When the dust settles, a large pile of rubble and debris is captured sitting on the beach
Witness Chris Emmerson described the sound of the rockfall like a ‘rumble of thunder’.
Mr Emmerson, 39, from Crewkerne, said: ‘It was quite incredible. We were stood on the cobb wall and heard a rumble like thunder in the distance. I turned around and saw the first of two cliff falls and a big cloud of dust.
‘By the time I got my phone out to take pictures the second fall happened in the same place.
‘It was like an old chimney stack coming down.’
Fresh warning signs have been put up and the coast path has been temporarily closed while council engineers assess the site.
West Bay, locayed in the heart of Britain’s UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast, is a tourist hotspot thanks to its beautiful scenery
West Bay, in the heart of Britain’s UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast, was the real-life setting for the ITV crime drama Broadchuch and is a tourist hotspot.
The landslip is the latest in a series of rockfalls which have taken place on this crumbling stretch of 180 million year old cliffs in the past few years.
In 2012 tourist Charlotte Blackman, 22, was crushed to death when a huge landslip occurred as she walked under the cliffs further along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site at Burton Bradstock.
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