White cliffs of Dover – tonnes of rock collapsed into the sea
A large section of the white cliffs of Dover has collapsed into the English Channel following a “substantial” rockfall on March 15, 2012. Tonnes of the cliff face sheared off near an area known as Crab Bay, but no one was injured. Dover Coastguard said a full survey had yet to be carried out to determine the exact amount and length of cliff that crumbled.
The collapse may have been caused by rain freezing and expanding after being absorbed into the chalk, causing it to weaken.
A Dover Coastguard spokesman said: “We can see the start of it from where we are based but then it goes round the corner. It appears that it crumbled from the top at high water so there was no one down below at the time. It was quite a substantial fall. No one was injured but it does serve as a reminder that if people are walking along the cliff-top or underneath, that the cliff can crumble away. Over the years and around the country, including along the coast at Beachy Head in East Sussex, cliffs can fall after water expands when there have been freezing conditions.”
The Kent landmark, popularised by Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime song The White Cliffs of Dover, has suffered large rockfalls before, most significantly in January last year.
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