Coastal erosion

Coastal erosion

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Credit: MARTIN BOND/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Coastal erosion. Rock fall at the base of a cliff due to coastal erosion by waves at high tide. If the erosion continues, the buildings near the edge of the cliff will be in danger of collapse. The rocks of these cliffs, the Red Cliffs at Hunstanton, Norfolk, England, form three distinct layers. The upper layer is white, and the lower layer is reddish-brown. A thin layer in between is a brighter red colour. This thin layer, called Red Gault, or Red Chalk, is a chemical precipitate of calcium carbonate coloured bright red by iron oxide. All these deposits were formed around 100 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period, when the land was covered by a shallow sea.

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