Saturday, September 17, 2011

The force of water

This is a splendid example of the force of water in action. The place is Crackington Haven in Cornwall, where a very small river runs down a steep valley and into a pool near the beach. The water in the pool seeps through a bank of sand and pebbles, and trickles out onto gently sloping sand which stretches seawards several hundred yards when the tide is out. It faces west so low tide on a sunny evening is the essence of holiday. In October 2010, after some steady rain, the pool filled and burst through the pebble bank. On the first night it cut a channel about two feet deep through the top of the beach. By the next day it was three feet.

Here is the pool at the bottom right and the new river flowing upwards to the left.

This and the last shot show the river flowing. It's not very fast which makes the shifting of sand and gravel even more impressive

These two shots show the river at about three feet deep 24 hours after the breakthrough

And on the next day the depth of the channel is six feet. So it's taken a not very fast flowing river 48 hours to cut a six foot channel through some pretty hefty building aggregate. (note: the people in the shots make it look a lot more than that – they are out of proportion. I didn't have a friendly victim with me who was prepared to stand in the river to give a proper impression of the scale.)

It didn't take the sea long to put it back together over the winter though. Here is the beach today, once again filled in.

And to finish some rock formations with a difference.

And another, particularly appealing, rock from a few miles up the coast at Widemouth Bay.

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