Is the rockfall responsible for an empty beach?

Simon was the first Seal Group member to the haul out beach on Saturday and he was surprised to find not a single seal anywhere on the beach. A quick look around the cliffs, revealed a small rockfall had taken place up the west side of Turbot's Corner. This is a popular haulout place for small seals that have recently been weaned, so it is to be hoped that the inlet was not occupied when the rockfall occurred. Seals can move amazingly fast when they want to and the first 'cracking' sound would have alerted any seal close by, who would have headed straight for the sea - hopefully in time to be clear of the 'drop' zone. Haul trails just east of the fall appear 'cut off' where the water's edge may have been at the time of the fall. This is the prime time of year for rockfalls to occur around the cove. The good news is that by the early afternoon, the seals had overcome their fear and begun hauling out above the rising tide.

Small rockfall in Turbot's Corner - favoured spot for weaners (Left & mid) : Haul trails - rush to the sea? (Right.)

East Cave 2000 (Left) : East Cave Nov 2001 (Mid left) : East Cave Oct 2002 (Mid right) : East Cave Nov 2005 (Right)

There have been at least 2 major rockfalls in the Cove on the other side of the beach in recent times. Both occurred in the late Autumn and transformed the beach profile completely. The photos show that the beach was mostly sand and boulder-free before the rockfalls. Huge amounts of rock were deposited on the beach, but the amazing power of the sea has reorganised the rock and sand, almost returning the beach to what it was like in 2000 (incredibly the same almost happened between the 2 major rockfalls.) The second rockfall was so deep, it virtually blocked the cave mouth, but this season has seen a pup born and raised in the east cave. Not only does the sea appear to break up and remove rock from the beach, but it also removes sand around the larger boulders, which then sink deeper into the beach. At other times, the sea dumps huge depths of sand, which bury the sinking boulders.

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Fortunately there were no rockfalls when British Sea Power played Carnglaze Caverns on 27th November 2005