The River Char winds its way out to sea at Mouth Rocks. The cliffs to the east of here are a good source of iron pyrite ammonites, which can be found by looking carefully in the shingle. The cliffs around this area are unstable and it is wise to keep away from them. The best fossils are always found loose on the beach.
Clip Information of Requested Area
Erosion of Charmouth Cliffs
Coastal erosion processes which affect the cliffs to the West of Charmouth
Hotspots: The Jurassic Sea and Fossils, Charmouth Dinosaur
The Charmouth Dinosaur
The cliffs around Charmouth hold a mystery. A local fossil collector, David Sole, has found the remains of a dinosaur, Scelidosaurus, but just how did a land dwelling reptile end up at the bottom of this deep Jurassic sea?
The Jurassic Sea and Fossils
The Jurassic clays around this area formed in a deep tropical sea, the soft muddy bottom of which was often stagnant, creating a sulphurous and anoxic environment, the best conditions for preserving the shells, bones and even soft tissue of dead prehistoric creatures.
Coastal Features: The Cretaceous Blanket and Cliff Erosion
The Cretaceous Blanket and Cliff Erosion
From the air, the instability of the cliffs along this stretch of the Jurassic Coastline is clearly visibly and they are eroded in several different ways.
From above, and where the cliff is capped by Upper Greensand, rainwater seeps through to the underlying impermeable clays. As the water builds up during prolonged periods of rainfall the cliffs below fail to support the extra weight and pressure from above, creating a landslide.
From below, the sea erodes away the cliff base. As more and more sediment is removed, the deposits of clay and shale above become less stable, resulting in cliff falls onto the beach, where the process then starts all over again.
This is why the cliffs here are so unstable and why it is a good idea to keep away. Mary Anning’s faithful dog was killed when a section of cliff fell on him.