Memorias de investigación
Book chapters:
The modeling of coastal cliffs and future trends

Research Areas
  • Physics chemical and mathematical,
  • Geology,
  • Engineering

The development of cliff erosion predictive models is mainly limited to geomorphological data because of the complex interactions between coupled processes acting in time and space result in large scale variations. Current models incorporate a stochastic representation of cliff behaviour, based on assumptions regarding the magnitude and frequency of events in a probabilistic framework. Under this procedure, the resulting simulations of cliffs of differing behaviour can produce identical annual retreat characteristics despite the potential responses to a changing environment being unequal. A model has been developed to incorporate the behavioural characteristics of coastal cliffs the geology of which is dominated by overconsolidated clays and an associated protective talus wedge. The model is used to provide precise and stable responses to some of the inherent uncertainties in cliff recession processes including those caused by different failure mechanisms, such as colluvium generation, groundwater influence and erosive tidal cycles. Material strength is incorporated by the unconfined compressive strength of the material that composes the cliff. Unlike previous models, a calibration parameter is restricted to account for hydrodynamic uncertainties from marine action. The mechanism of cliffline retreat has been identified as earth slides, earthslumps and earth topple types of landslide. Once cliff material has fallen, colluvium formation at cliff foot is incorporated into the model using three different procedures according to geomechanical characteristics of the weathered debris material. The model is validated through slope long profile evolution assessment at various locations of coastline retreat at the Holderness Coast, UK. The model reflects that the coastal oversteeping is a key factor of instability in coastal cliffs. Additionally, higher groundwater content also produces an increase in the number and size of the slope failure. The results represent an important step-forward in linking material properties to the processes of cliff recession and the subsequent long-term response under changing environmental conditions.
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Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Ingeniería de Georrecursos y Modelización
  • Departamento: Ingeniería Geológica y Minera