Abstract

Early on Friday, 4 June 1993, a large portion of Scarborough's South Cliff collapsed into the sea. The length of the gardens of the Holbeck Hall Hotel, Scarborough's only four star accommodation, had been reduced drastically from 60m to a mere 15 m. The photograph shown in Fig. 1 was taken that morning by an RAF Air Sea Rescue helicopter. Cracks had begun to appear in the Hotel itself and the guests were evacuated during breakfast. Over the following three days, the cliff retreated another 35m, thereby undermining the hotel, which toppled over the cliff piece by piece whilst thousands of onlookers and the media watched in fascination. The police closed off the area to prevent the foolhardy and those interested in antiques from trying to climb the unstable mass. As the hotel gradually collapsed over several days, the national press in their search for new angles on the story, managed to draw parallels between the collapsing Hotel, the state of British sport and that of the Government. Residents of the houses behind the hotel wondered where the slip was going to stop and feared that the value of their properties would plummet. The ground behind the slip was monitored continually for signs of movement.

The South Cliff consists mainly of glacial till (boulder clay), which overlies Middle Jurrassic rocks.

In the cliff to the left of the landslide (Fig. 1), the Scalby Formation (part of the Upper Estuarine series of the Middle Jurassic Inferior Oolite) crops out and is

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