I was reading the presentation by “Save Our Shores,” entitled, “A Geologic Train Ride Down The San Mateo County Coast,” when I came upon an interesting photo. It’s of a very attractive Sea Arch just south of Martins Beach. This stretch of coast from Martins Beach to the site of Gordon’s Chute at the northern limit of Tunitas Beach is inaccessible except by watercraft. Which is probably why the photo was taken from an aircraft. The caption says the arch collapsed due to the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989. I thought that gave it some special cachet, and the Sea Arch deserves mentioning even though it’s gone.
If you’d like to see the before and after you can do so on the California Coastal Records Project website.
The arch appears in the 1972 (#7218025), 1979 (#7928064). and 1987 (#8713158) photos and is gone in the 2002 (#6190) photo.
Well, not entirely gone. When you click on the 2002 photo, to access the large file photo, you can see the missing pieces lying in the shallow water, the surf busting over them. An inglorious, but inevitable end considering the forces of Nature this feature faced. I wonder how many other of the disappearing arches of our coast suffered the same fate from the frequent (geologically speaking) earthquakes that shake our coast?
When I kayak down this part of the coast this summer, I’ll be sure to get a picture of this spot. I wanted to investigate the huge sea cave just to the right of the former arch’s spot on the 2002 picture (#6190) anyway.
By the way the dark spots above the white areas on the cliffside are birds. You can see them perching on tiny ledges all along here in the pictures. I’m not sure what species. Enjoy. John