FRIDAY, JULY 6: A series of recent cliff falls along South Shore have prompted calls for warning signs to be erected along the coast.
Environmentalists Stuart Hayward and David Wingate say the spate of rock falls that have affected Southlands beach as well as Black Watch Pass have been caused by recent weather.
Mr Hayward told the Bermuda Sun that the frequency of cliff falls was a concern and demonstrated the ‘instability and unpredictability’ of cliff fronts.
He added: “A contributing factor would be the extended dry period we have had that would likely add to the porosity of the substrate, followed by a sustained drenching that would penetrate further and faster than normal because of that increased porosity.
“This weakens the bonding in the material.
“Another factor is the enormous amount of weight added to partially supported cliff faces by extended rainfall events.
“In areas where the substrate is relatively loosely bonded, such as that particular stretch of the South Shore coastline, the question is not so much if there will be rock falls, but when and how massive.”
Mr Hayward said that rock falls posed real and major dangers to members of the public living on top of the cliff as well as those using the beach below.
He added: “It wouldn’t hurt for safety reasons to have “beware of falling rock” signs.
Such signage may be frowned on as unnecessarily scaring tourists and others. But still, it is better safe than sorry.”
Dr Wingate told the Sun that other parts of South Shore had also been affected by recent rock falls.
He added: “The most frequent and extensive cliff falls on the South Shore apart from that Warwick shoreline have been on Charles Island and on Southampton and Horn islands all within the Castle Harbour national park.
“In addition to warning signs I would advise people to stay away from any cliffs after any heavy rainfall event.
“Signs could say: ‘be wary of cliff falls especially after heavy rainfall events’.”