Cliff Fall May 2016

Significant cliff fall in May 2016

After the recent cliff fall in May, I visited the Seven Sisters to see for myself the exact size of the monumental cliff fall.

It looks big from a distance – it looks even bigger close up.

The size of the cliff fall

I paced the length of the fall which was 180 paces, which at an average 80cm per pace equates to 144 metres.

The seven sisters have an undulating height of between 50 metres and around 80 metres at this point but I’ll use the height of 70 metres for my calculations.

We don’t know the exact depth of the cliff fall at this point, but my guess that it was potentially somewhere between 4 and 10 metres. I’ll take an average of 7 metres.

If we multiply 144m x 70m x 7m this works out at 70,560 meters cubed.

1 cubic metre of chalk is approximately 2,499 kilograms which means the overall potential weight of this cliff fall in May 2016 is 176,329,440 kilograms or 176,329 tonnes.

A very big fall indeed.

Cliff fall with chalk being dissolved by the sea

In this picture we can see the recent fall. The white swirls are caused by the sea dissolving the chalk.

Cliff fall could fall at any time

This is the spot where the cliff fall happened. The walkers prove useful to show the scale.

You can see that there is a vertical column of chalk ready to fall at any point.

Recent Cliff Fall May 2016

At the Seven Sisters near Birling Gap we recently had the biggest cliff fall for probably around 10 years.

You can see very clearly just how much chalk fell in the cliff fall in the comparison between a photo taken of the Seven Sisters from Seaford head on the 1st of April, compared to one taken on the 27th May, just a few days after the cliff fall happened.

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The size of the cliff fall can also be clearly seen in what is probably the most popular angle to photograph the Seven Sisters, with the Coastguard Cottages of Cuckmere Haven in the foreground.

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We can see this again from a slightly different angle from the Cuckmere Haven Coastguard Cottages and the Seven Sisters in the background.

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More information on coastal erosion.

More information on how to get to Birling Gap.

If you have any questions or would like to use any of the photos from this website or from my extensive collection, please get in touch.