ENOUGH land to fill 15 skips went tumbling into the sea in under a minute, as storms battered Mersea Island’s coastline.
Dr Ian Willis, who is based at Cambridge University’s geography department, captured the dramatic footage on his digital camera.
It shows six land slips in 58 seconds as high tide crashed on the 10-metre tall cliffs at Cudmore Grove Country Park.
Dr Willis, who grew up in Halstead, has warned the coastline will only be eroded at a more rapid more over the coming years unless action is taken to protect it.
His footage was taken during a trip to the park at the weekend with his children Fabian and Tilly.
Dr Willis said: “This is from a section where there is sea wall and exposed cliffs are next to it.
“While we were there we noticed one landslide.
“There looked like there were going to be more because the tide was so strong, so I focused my camera and got as close as I dared and filmed it.”
Dr Willis said he got about two metres away from the water’s edge.
“I estimate the volume of sediment that fell is around 100 cubic metres. This is about 150 tonnes. The commonly used large skips carry about 10 tonnes. So imagine 15 skips worth of soil being dumped into the sea,” he added.
“This made me think this is likely to happen more and more over the next decade. We know sea levels are rising due to global warming.
“As the sea warms, the water expands so sea level rises. But also, glaciers and ice sheets are melting and this also contributes to sea level rise.
“Some parts of the Essex coast are protected by various sorts of sea defences but most places are not protected.
“In the future, land owners, local government and national government through the Environment Agency are going to have to make tough decisions about which areas to protect and which areas to let go. “ Dr Willis said by 2100 sea levels will be anywhere between 25cm and 1metre higher than now.
He works at the university’s Scott Polar Research Institute and undertakes research into the melting of glaciers and ice sheets and how this affects sea level rise.
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