Tafoni on coastal slopes, South Devon, UK

Derek Mottershead, K. Pye

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Cavernous weathering (tafoni development) occurs on coastal slopes in greenschist bedrock at elevations up to 40 m above sea level. The freshly weathered surfaces of the cavern interiors are irregular in morphology, discordant to major rock structure, formed by substantially weakened rock and associated with granular weathering debris. The weathering debris contains soluble elements in proportions similar to those present in seawater, and the penetration of elements associated with sea salts into the weathering surface to estimated depths of at least 0·1–0·2 m is indicated by the presence of chlorine. Scanning electron microscopy and microprobe analyses suggest that rock breakdown occurs principally through limited chemical weathering at grain boundaries. The mechanism for the emplacement of marine salts within sheltered rock surfaces in the tafoni is postulated to be a combination of dry deposition under turbulent atmospheric conditions and wetting by coastal fog.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)543-563
    Number of pages21
    JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
    Volume19
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 1994

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