Monday, August 19, 2019

On Sandstone Cliffs

For as long as man has lived along the California coast, cliffs have risen high over the sandy beaches, age old cliffs. Now, out on the waves, surfers swim out and surfed in while beaches were busy with families, sand castles, and swimmers. It is the typical California heaven, of which the Beach Boys sang.

Meanwhile the cliffs became a place for the wealthy to perch their mansions. It was a primo place, highly desired.



Decades ago grains of sands that drifted from the cliffs to beach became hunks of sandstone. Bit by bit, the crumbling began. While the cliffs were disintegrating, the El Nino effect hit the beaches hard, worldwide. The cliffs crumbled at an accelerated rate, from the beach up, the cliffs down where they would meet.

read this source
At that time, Dept of California Beaches mandated that beach goers are required to be a distance away from the cliffs. These areas are marked and give warnings. Beach goers are careless and ignore signs. That is why 3 were killed and several injured just ten days ago.  Nature happens and extracts its toll.


One of several warning signs is posted next to the sand rock debris left from Friday's sea cliff collapse that killed three people near the Grandview Beach access stairway in the beach community of Leucadia, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in Encinitas, Calif. A bouquet of flowers has been placed one of the chunks of sand stone. Officials have reopened much of the Southern California beach on Saturday. (Hayne Palmour IV/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)
Warning sign
Large ocean storms have pounded the shores. High waves carved out the base of the sand cliffs, forming shallow deep caves. The caves collapse and rockslides happen. This is a tragedy that has happened seven or eight times a year.

Cliffs do not obey the money of the rich. 

Slowly, the cliffs fell until edges were eight feet from the patios, then six feet. The rich owners paid big bucks to prop the whole mess up with steel, concrete, and pilings. But time is time, and they know it.


Several of the buildings were condemned and evacuated in 2010 due to their dangerous proximity to the edge of the bluff. Above, footage from earlier this month as the cliffs crumble into the ocean 
Pacifica, CA August 14, 2019
Go to this source. This collapse is shown in slide show. 
Well, dang it! All those pre-emptive strikes of hoisting up the houses has failed, failed miserably. The rich homes came tumbling down as the caves collapsed. Many still remain but are on precarious footing.

Cliff collapse in Encinitas, California
Three killed, one injured. Visit this site.
Those who build their houses on shifting sand? It doesn't make sense, and people do not possess common sense. 

For the ground bound, who would ignore warning signs and settle onto the shade of the cliffs?  From those people who also lacked common sense, some lounged, looking up to the sky and out to the ocean, not thinking the cliffs behind them were crumbling, grain by grain.

Why this subject erupted is that we went on a bus tour of Malibu yesterday. Off, high up on the cliffs, we could peer at the underside of patios, held in place by timber and steel. Shifting sand.


47 comments:

  1. Some people want to get close to the beach, but that is simply ridiculous. I had not heard about the three dead, so I feel for them, but surely they knew better before they placed their lives in such danger.

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    1. Maybe, or they ignored the warnings. I feel for their families.

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  2. It is hard to feel sorry for any of them as they do lack common sense. I saw one house recently being built near the ocean here and it has maybe 2 feet of land between it and the ocean. Talk about dumb.

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    1. Do people believe that they are immortal??

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    2. 2 feet? Two?? Yikes! One big storm and they're gone.

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  3. Here on Long Island we have much smaller cliffs with different geology. However, people still build houses on them and some houses have fallen and others are hanging preciously. As I take beach walks I see the problem first hand. It is astonishing that people build houses in these locations.

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    1. Seeing houses from the time we moved here some 30 years ago, and seeing them now is darn scary. Used to think they were so magnificent and now I see only future destruction.

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  4. Sigh.
    Nature is a rule unto herself. And no doubt laughs at us.

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    1. People think that nature is somehow under control.

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  5. Tragic people died. I always thought building on cliffs a bad idea. Like a the people here who build on sand dunes and then cry when a hurricane takes away both house and the dune.

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    1. We visited Galveston three years ago, read the history about the # of times hurricanes hit and wiped out the city. Yet, build again they will do.

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  6. No matter where you build, use common sense. Here, they build in the floodplain and then wonder why they flooded.

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    1. Happened also in the plains between Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Rich farmland but takes real blows.

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  7. I'll never understand why some people feel the need to control - or at least best - Mother Nature at her own game. Maybe it's a male superiority thang?

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    1. No, I think it is a whole human race thing.

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  8. Around here we have a unique feature called the Loess Hills. They are made up of a special kind of soil left by years of glacier action. The only other place in the world that is like that is in China. The Loess Hills crumble and erode easily. Anyone who builds on them is asking for trouble. I would be scared to ride under the houses that are in danger of falling with the sand in California.

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    1. Driving along Pacific Coast Highway 101 is that experience exactly.

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  9. Nature will not be tamed. People will make bad choices. Sometimes, the two intersect.

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    1. And when they intersect, nothing good becomes of that.

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  10. This is discussed by we on the FIRST coast time and time again. BUT no matter. some feel that 4 years, even 2 are worth the risk, but of course that is usually if they have the money to throw away down the clift.
    Humans gamble, even with our lives. Amazing.
    Very good, thinking, entry. many times we are all guilty of being stupid, but o a smaller scale. LOL
    Love from out here where we see the sun first.
    Sherry & jack

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  11. Seems they believe money can buy anything even nature!

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  12. I've often said I would love a home on a cliff overlooking the ocean, but I would never build so close to the edge. Does anyone know how much distance was originally between the homes and the cliff edge. I think we are seeing the beginnings of the same problem along our southern beaches where there are homes built on cliffs but I've been down that way and they all seem to be a fair distance back from the edge.

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    1. I hope so. Perhaps their cliffs are not sandstone?

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  13. We have similar problems with some cliffs over here too.

    God bless.

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    1. People the world over seem to put themselves over the safety issues.

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  14. Some people have more money than brains.

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  15. Years ago, when I was young, (about 100 years ago), people did not build on the beaches. Small bungalows dotted towns and people enjoyed being near a beach and not on it. Today, large high risers block others from any view and millionaires take over what used to be access to the beaches. Building stupid on the cliffs should never be allowed, but money talks. However, Mother Nature will always have her way.

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    1. In these cases, the true lack of common sense and the overabundance of $$$ is dangerous and stupid.

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  16. I wouldn't mind renting a beach house for a weekend, but buying one? No way.

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    1. Like some said above, the time of beach houses along the ocean in a small town is gone. Big developers have taken over that era.

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  17. Nothing stays the same, Susan. Of that we can all be certain and make the most of what we have 🌹

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  18. Building your house on shifting sand is one thing but sme of us build our lives on shifting sand. Much more dangerous. I find it difficult to feel sorry for the very rich.

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    1. Well said! Building our lives on shifting sand, much more serious.

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  19. Sad, thst's why there are warnings on the beach below. I feel sorry for their family and friends. I would never want a house built on a cliff. You hear these stories time and time again.

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    1. No one is immortal, esp. when their decisions doom them.

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  20. I just shake my head wondering what were they thinking? Did they really believe everything would stay the same? Money must give people the same disillusion that teenagers have about being invincible.

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    1. On the freeway, we watch the careless drivers (mostly young and male) drive crazily. We call them "the young immortals".

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  21. I wonder why they would build there, too. Too involved in the moment? Thinking that their money makes them gods? No concept of permanence? As we found out Saturday in our little corner, nothing is forever.

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    1. I think you are right about being involved in the moment. Excellent.

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  22. I used t live in California and saw that all the time.

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  23. Hi Susan - must have been interesting to see ... we see it here regularly along our southern Sussex coast - thankfully not too many houses there now - but there are some. The east coast also is receding rapidly ...

    Today we should be more aware where we perch ourselves ... I enjoyed the informative read - cheers Hilary

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  24. I understand why they built there. The views are impressive. But at a certain point, it's all going to come crumbling down. And they know that, deep down.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!