Weathering the storm: rock coast resilience and vulnerability

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Geology and geomorphology link starkly in coastal environments, exemplifying the importance of Fookes’ geo model approach to understanding site dynamics. Cliffs, and the shore platforms that front them, are subject to both marine and subaerial processes. Throughout his work, Fookes emphasises the role of climate as a weathering agent, influencing material properties and requiring consideration in engineering projects. Comparatively, more is known about the operation of rock weathering processes on shore platforms than on cliffs. Yet, with changing climate, it is becoming apparent that winter salt and frost weathering and summer salt and wetting-drying weathering contribute to more frequent occurrences of coastal rockfalls. Increasing storm activity and rising sea levels are enhancing marine and subaerial processes. Rock coast are amongst the most rapidly eroding coastlines in Europe. New applications of technologies, including seismometers, Lidar and InSAR, provide a fuller understanding of rock coast process-response geo model behaviour and the resilience of rock coasts on engineering timescales. Communicating scientific understanding of rock coast dynamics to policy-makers and planners remains a challenge. To help address this, the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) Geology is conducting a pan-European assessment of coastal resilience and vulnerability, translating incomplete data and information to communicate situational awareness.
Period27 Mar 2023
Held atEngineering Group of the Geological Society of London
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • engineering geology
  • rock coast
  • erosion
  • coastal vulnerability