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Marine and subaerial controls of coastal chalk cliff erosion in Normandy (France) based on a 7-year laser scanner monitoring

Letortu, Pauline, Costa, Stéphane, Maquaire, Olivier, Davidson, Robert
Geomorphology 2019 v.335 pp. 76-91
chalk, cliffs, monitoring, scanners, surveys, France
Between October 2010 and November 2017, surveys using terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) were carried out every 4–5 months to monitor erosion on three chalk cliff faces with close structural characteristics in Normandy (the two Dieppe sites are abandoned cliffs while the Varengeville-sur-Mer site is an active one). The uniqueness of this paper is the comparison between these cliff sections and the significance of marine and/or subaerial controls in erosion. Beyond the quantification of annual retreat rates, which on the active cliff are currently 36 times greater than on the abandoned cliffs, this paper highlights the fundamental efficacy of marine controls in the current cliff erosion and the removal of falls (analyses of modalities of retreat and profile evolution according to a naturalistic approach). Subaerial processes appear to have a less erosive action than marine ones, because the studied abandoned cliffs show low erosion dynamics and have maintained a subvertical profile despite continentalization for between 30 to more than 120 years.