UCSB Beach: Bluff Top Erosion

The bluff top and indeed the entire UCSB campus is covered by 2-3 m of unconsolidated aeolian sand that is easily eroded. Ice plant deters erosion, but erosion occurs readily where the sand is exposed to foot and bicycle traffic. In this example, the ground surface was once waist high before foot and bicycle traffic carved deep grooves in the sand. 16 Nov 2000, ©AGS2000.
Exposed fencepost foundation at north end of chainlink fence on bluff above UCSB beach. This foundation is within 30 cm of the cliff. It must have been at least 2 m from the cliff edge when the fence was erected sometime before 1972 in the aeolian sand. This post was removed in 2001 and the fence was moved back from the cliff one meter. ©AGS2000. Exposed fencepost foundation in mid-section of chainlink fence, across the road from Anacapa dormitory where distance between the cliff front and Lagoon Road is narrowest. The vegetation is ice plant. This post and fence section were removed and moved back from the cliff one meter in 2001. ©AGS2000.
Two views of path erosion on UCSB bluff top. The aeolian sand is so friable that it is readily torn up by knobby bicycle tires and knobby running shoes. The original ground surface is indicated by the vegetation level, so the amount of path erosion is at least 30-40 cm, and the trail is at least 30 years old.

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