Large Crack Along Sunset Cliffs Bluff Poses Danger

by on January 19, 2016 · 4 comments

in Environment, Health, History, Ocean Beach

Sunset Cliffs crack 2 Jan 2016

Screen capture from CBS8 video report.

A large crack has appeared along a bluff at Sunset Cliffs and poses a huge danger to people on the top of the Cliffs as well as those on the beach, rocks and or in the surf below.

The fracture – described by CBS8 as 5 feet wide and 250 feet long – is located at the south western boundary of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. The crack in the bluff is right above a beach often visited by Point Loma Nazarene University students, surfers and park visitors.

Local writer, Jimi Olsen, writing at the Reader, helped to break the story. Olsen reported:

San Diego’s coastal bluffs are showing the effects of El Niño rains. … Because of the long drought conditions our area has experienced, the coastal bluffs have had years to dry out and settle. Now, with the large amount of rain we’ve had, the earth has absorbed the water and is expanding, causing bluff collapse to accelerate everywhere throughout the county. …

Surfers informed city lifeguards of the crack on January 17th, and they went down to inspect the area. At least two other bluff collapses have occurred south of this area in the past month, and a very large collapse was reported by mariners on the east side of Point Loma below the Cabrillo monument.    San Diego Reader

Sunset Cliffs crack Jan 2016CBS 8 news interviewed a local geology expert, Professor Emeritus Pat Abbott, Ph.D. from SDSU, who examined the crack and told them it could collapse at any time.  He stated:

“Heavy rains have saturated the ground more with rain, which makes the cliffs weaker and heavier. We have high tides right now. We have big storm waves, surf coming in.”

“A lot of these rocks are made of clay minerals. When they get wet they lose strength, so we have the added problem here of weaker rocks to begin with.”

“As a scientist we know a lot, but a lot of what we know is common sense. When you look there and you see this huge fracture running parallel to the cliff base that tells you something, that piece of cliff is pulling away. Stay back, don’t go near.”

Abbott added that the crack is not so much from the drought but more from El Niño rains plus the sea caves below. Also, lifeguards told the news station that they have notified the city geologist who is supposed to be investigating the fractured bluff. CBS 8

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie January 19, 2016 at 11:39 am

What can the city do and how soon can they do it? are the key questions here. Besides throwing up signs, what can any humans do?


bodysurferbob January 19, 2016 at 11:48 am

what can be done to halt nature, the natural evolution of erosion from a variety of factors? nothing, just get out of the way. sure put up signs but don’t try to stop the crack from crumbling onto the beach below.


Tessa January 19, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Holy Shlamoley!
Nature takes its course…


Woody January 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Right above my “REEF”!


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