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Cliff Erosion In Isla Vista

IVCSD, UCSB's Community Housing Services, and Associated Students are kicking off our 2023 Cliff Erosion & Safety Campaign!

What is Cliff Erosion you ask? Cliff erosion is the loss or displacement of land along the coastline. When forces remove the rock, the coastline becomes less compact and sturdy, which results in erosion.

Can you believe there used to be a bike path behind the houses on Del Playa?

There used to be about 15 additional feet of the cliff back when the first photo was taken in 1987. That's only 35 years ago! On average the rate of cliff erosion is around 6 INCHES per year.

Why does this happen? Erosion occurs from waves and runoff. The force of ocean waves hitting the base of the cliffs destroys the sediment over time. Then rainfall, groundwater, and trash runoff wash away the sediment from the top of the cliffs.

Photo source: Arthur Gibbs Sylvester- Department of Geological Sciences at UCSB. Learn more about Sylvester's research here


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