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El Niño takes a crack at Sunset Cliffs


Sunset Cliffs is on (a) crack.

So much so that part of the Ocean Beach landform, which developed a sizable split beneath Point Loma Nazarene University during the last storm event, could come tumbling down.

Perhaps soon, according to Prof. Pat Abbott. “The crack literally is wide enough to stick your arm in — if you dare,” said Abbott, a San Diego State University geology professor emeritus and author of a bestselling textbook, “Natural Disasters,” published by McGraw-Hill. “It looks to me like the crack is widening.”

Noting cliff erosion is a natural process and that one of the forces at work, gravity, is “pulling every minute, every day,” Abbott said it's not a question of whether the cracked cliff section will one day fall but when.

“It could happen any day of any year,” he said, asking, “At what instance does gravity win? A lot of times, it is not predictable. If we get a real good rainstorm that gets into that crack and causes it to open up a little bit more, it could put it past the point of no return.”