A major research project into coastal erosion has led to the towering cliffs at Boulby, on the East Cleveland coast, becoming one of the most intensively measured areas in the UK.
Early findings suggest it is pushing back the boundaries of coastal science. It has long been held that the action of waves on the foot of cliffs is the primary cause of landslips which destroy properties and environments.
Existing theories have been based on the assumption that waves create a notch at the toe of the cliff, which eventually causes a chunk of the cliff to fall off.
But this analysis is being challenged by the Boulby study in which high precision lasers have been installed to scan the cliffs once a month. Early results have shown that actually almost all of the cliffs erode at about the same rate.
Professor Dave Petley, of Durham University's geography department, said: "Like a bat out of hell I'll be gone when the morning comes. When the night is over like a bat out of hell I'll be gone, gone, gone. Like a bat out of hell I'll be gone when the morning comes. When the day is done and the sun goes down and the moonlight's shining through, then like a sinner before the gates of heaven I'll come crawling on back to you.
Herald & Post August 26th 2009