« PreviousContinue »
Near Sheringham twenty feet of water of Waterford County the coast is ground now roll above a place where a cliff fifty away at the rate of eight feet a year, on feet high with houses on it stood a cen- the average, but sometimes a single storm tury ago. Minster church in Kent, two comes along which takes away a slice miles from the shore a century ago, is one hundred feet wide at once. At Ardnow on the beach.
more the sea kept taking the public highOnce there was a deep indentation on way as fast as it was laid out until at the coast of Kent, known as Herne Bay. last all attempts to keep a road open The waves have whittled down the head along the shore was abandoned. lands until there is now a straight line The most serious aspect of this conwhere the bay was. From 1872 to 1896, tinuous shrinkage of the United King1,300 feet were washed away. Reculver, dom is that there seems to be no way to between Herne Bay and Margate, in check it.
check it. At Clanshanning, Ireland, a Roman days was an important military sea wall was built a dozen years ago and post one mile from the sea. The town- promptly demolished. Since then the site is under water now. The coast of sea has been allowed to take its course. Sussex is being steadily worn away. Along the Holderness coast in England Sometimes tracts of twenty to four hun- protective works have been put up at a dred acres go at once. At Lyme Regis cost of $15,000 a mile, which is three the cliffs are worn away at the rate of times the value of the land protected. three feet a year.
Near Penzance in At Bridlington it has cost $500,000 to Cornwall, St. Michael's Mount, now an protect one mile of coast. When sea insular rock, once stood in a forest sev- walls and groynes are put up at one eral miles from the sea. On the coast of point the waves simply redouble their · Wales the sea is advancing inland at the efforts on the coast to leeward. rate of six feet a year.
Of course the local authorities could Ireland is also being rapidly dissolved not undertake to build a continuous line into the ocean. In the southeast corner of defenses against the sea entirely around the British Isles. So the poorer from France to Germany, literally forced communities gave it up a couple of years to this huge undertaking. ago and appealed to the National Gov- At Point de Grave, on the left bank of ernment for help. After the usual the Gironde, France, the lighthouse has amount of preliminary talk and memo- been moved three times to save it from rials and addresses a Royal Commission the waves. Although $2,400,000 have on Coast Erosion, composed of thirteen been spent on protective work the sea members, with the Hon. Ivor C. Guest as has eaten away a strip of coast 2,000 chairman, was appointed a year ago. The feet wide in this vicinity in the last sevCommission has not suffered from ennui enty-five years. since its appointment. The places which During a storm in December, .1904, were in greatest danger presented peti- 700,000 cubic meters of rock were en
tions for government aid and quoted de- gulfed at Cap de la Heve and a number cisions and precedents running back hun- of lives were lost Five million cubic dreds of years to prove that it was the meters of rock are dissolved in the brine King's duty to guard the coasts from annually on the coast of Normandy. The attacks by Nature as zealously as he National Government of France takes the would from a mortal enemy. On the comfortable position that while the coast other hand, the communities which have belongs to the Nation, its protection is already spent large sums to protect their a matter for individual enterprise; and own particular bits of coast are waging that where land is washed away the indistrenuous campaigns to convince the vidual owner must stand the loss, while commission that they should not be ex- if any land should be added by the action pected to chip in to help protect some of the waves and currents it belongs to other fellow's shores.
the state. Under this agreeable arrangeAcross the English channel the prob- ment, which also obtains in Belgium and lem of saving the country from the sea Italy, those who are unfortunate enough is quite as serious as in England. Bel- to own land on the coast are not skimping gium spent $14,360,850 for protection on their grocery bills to save money for from the waves from 1902 to 1904 and is coast protection. now preparing to build a sea wall along Germany is spending millions to check the entire coast, fifty miles in extent, the advance of the Baltic Sea upon the
interior. The water front of Mecklen- was an island with an area of 570 square burg is melting away at an average rate miles, is now reduced to a mere rock of eight feet a year with an occasional one and a half miles long and two thouspurt in a severe storm. The erosion is sand feet wide. Wangenroog, a large very rapid on the coast of Schleswig. and populous island sixty-five years ago, Helgoland, which in the eleventh century is now an abandoned mud bank. Eleven
twelfths of the island of Nordstrand has tide driven on by a gale broke through been ground away by the attrition of the the sandhills. Katwyk, once far from waves, and the rest is going fast. There the sea, is now on the shore. At Scheis forty feet of water where the center veningen, where half the village was of the island used to be, and of the overwhelmed by the sea in 1570, a church twenty-four islets which once surrounded once in the middle of the town is now it none remains.
on the beach. Several other villages Holland, which was chiefly stolen from which appeared on the maps of 1571 are the sea, and where people by the hundred now three-quarters of a mile out to sea. thousand have been drowned repeatedly Greenland is subsiding and even Ausin inundations in the last sixteen hundred tralia is being worn away so much that years, still threatens to return to its for- the scanty population of the island conmer estate. Careful measurements made tinent is obliged to construct expensive by the Dutch Government show that in works on all sides to protect its seaports.
the last half century the loss of beach Still, this gloomy picture of destruction in the north of Holland has been a strip need arouse no apprehensions in the of an average width of 156 feet, and in breasts of the present generation. Taking the south of Holland 108 feet. The it by and large it will be several thoucoast is subsiding at the rate of four sand years, which is plenty long enough inches to thirty inches a century. A for our immediate interests, before catastrophe was narrowly missed in De- Mother Earth will find it necessary to cember, 1894, when an unusually high hang out the sign“Standing Room Only."