By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]
A rock fall occurred in the early hours of October 2 at Santa Eulália beach in Albufeira, next to Maria Luísa beach where five people were killed by a similar incident in August.
This new rock fall is believed to have occurred between 2am and 6am and did not claim any victims.
A spokesman from the Administração da Região Hidrográfica do Algarve (ARH), the authority responsible for monitoring the Algarve’s coastline, told the Algarve Resident that technicians were at the beach the same day to gather information into what caused the rock fall.
“Having been informed of the occurrence by the maritime authority at around 8.30am, Albufeira Câmara and the ARH sent a team to set up a boundary around the area,” said the spokesman.
“Work to move the rocks back carried on until 2pm at the site, with informative signs also being put in place.”
Later that day, Valentina Calixto, president of the ARH, gave a press conference in Faro to explain the possible causes of the rock fall and also announce the measures that are to be taken to prevent these incidents happening along the coastline in future.
“National and international science does not yet have the ability to foresee the date and location of such an occurrence,” she said. “In the case of rock falls, it is very difficult to foresee.”
As far as this new rock fall was concerned, no natural phenomenon such as an earth tremor, which could have caused it, was registered.
According to the ARH, the only reason for the rock fall could have been “fatigue of the material”.
The rocks fell from the lower part of the cliff face from a height of 12 metres onto the sand and the boardwalk that gives access to the beach.
The ARH is due to implement a plan of action along the coastline this winter to make several cliff areas safe across the region before summer 2010.
“The locality of the latest rock fall was not on our list but we will add it to the list,” said Valentina Calixto.
Meanwhile, last month the ARH published a report in which it was stated that they were not able to determine the direct causes of the rock fall at Maria Luísa beach, which killed five people on August 21.
According to the report, what happened was a rare accident and there were no warning signs that a collapse could occur.
The report suggests that the earthquake of 4.2 on the Richter scale, which happened three days earlier, could have contributed to the collapse.
The type of rock that exists along the majority of Algarve’s coastline is sandy and porous, meaning it is less compact and, therefore, more fragile.
Despite the official bathing season having finished on September 30, many residents and visitors to the Algarve still visit the beach due to the warm weather.
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