Rügen loses huge chunk of national park coastline in slide

The northern German island of Rügen has lost another 10,000 cubic metres of its famous chalk cliff coastline to the Baltic Sea following heavy rains, the national park service said Tuesday.

Rügen loses huge chunk of national park coastline in slide
Photo: DPA

The huge chunk of “naked crags” unsecured by vegetation collapsed over the weekend, said Michael Weigelt, head of the Jasmund National Park outpost in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Heavy rain over the course of several days is thought to have weakened the porous stone which forms the cliffs, he said from Sassnitz, the quaint 150-year-old fishing port on the most northerly point of the island, and the gateway to the park.

Fossil collectors notified the park administration after they spotted the slide along the Kolliker bank, which is between the majestic 118-metre high Königsstuhl cliff and the section known as the Wissower Klinken.

Weigelt said he was certain that the sheer cliff coastline will see similar collapses in future.

“It is a totally natural process,” he said.

But the anticipation of such slides has not prompted officials at Germany’s smallest national park to close off areas near the cliffs, with visitors being told that they should expect such natural disasters to occur. The last death due to coastal collapse in the area was in Möchgut in 2005.

Destruction along the chalk cliffs, made famous by German Romantic painter Casper David Friedrich, is recorded several times each year. The last slide occurred in July pulled just 100 cubic metres of cliff into the sea, while the largest recorded slide was in 2008, when 25,000 cubic metres of coastline were lost.


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