Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Chalk Coasts

  • Vincent MayEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48657-4_65-2

The extraordinary whiteness of chalk has given rise to distinct cliffs visible over large distances. From the Fourth Century BC Greek navigator, Pytheas of Massilia, through Julius Caesar and Shakespeare, to modern writers, chalk coasts were given a unique character. They are most commonly known for their place in Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” the literature of Maupassant and the paintings of Monet and the wartime nostalgic song, “White Cliffs of Dover.” The Romans called England “Albion” because of its white cliffs. The earliest regional study of a chalk coast is Girard’s (1907) description of the cliffs of the English Channel. Chalk cliffs occur, however, more widely than these classic locations. Chalk is a CaCO3 limestone found in the Upper Cretaceous outcrops on the European coast, in northern Ireland, Yorkshire and Norfolk, along the southern coast of England from the Isle of Thanet in the east to Beer in the west (Steers 1946), along the northern coast of France from Calais to the...

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Conservation SciencesBournemouth UniversityPooleUK