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Encinitas bluffs are a trouble spot known to geologists

encinitas bluff collapse 08.02
Posted at 5:42 PM, Aug 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-03 10:20:35-04

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) - The bluffs that collapsed in North San Diego County Friday, killing three people, are a known trouble spot to a local geologist.

Former San Diego State University professor Dr. Pat Abbott has led several geology field trips to Grandview Beach to point out unstable cliffs.

Abbott described the cliff as a “solid mass of sand grains cemented together” that suddenly gave way on a sunny and warm afternoon. Waves erode the shoreline in addition to groundwater that seeps into the bluffs, leaving behind white streaks of salt and creating cracks, Abbott said.

RELATED: Three dead, two others injured in north San Diego County bluff collapse

He said the beachgoers who were beneath the cliffs wouldn’t have had time to escape.

“By the time you hear it, that means it’s broken and it’s on the way; you don’t have time to react and leave,” said Abbott.

He recommends anyone who visits the beach to stay away from the bluffs for safety.

RELATED: INTERACTIVE MAP: Recent San Diego County bluff collapses

He also says walls may not be the answer to protect beachgoers.

“Walls don’t solve the problem, they push it into the future,” Abbott said.