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a. Outline the land instability observed during the Isle of Wight field course and relate their mechanisms to the geology and topography of the island.
The Isle of Wights geology is complex, the sedimentary rocks having been uplifted, compressed, folded and faulted over time. The processes of weathering and erosion and particularly the impact of rising sea-levels have resulted in a unique assemblage of geomorphological features within the Island. The geology and structure of the Isle of Wight is dominated by a strong eastwest monocline (with two main asymmetrical anticlines at Sandown and Brighstone), which was formed by tectonic activity. This asymmetric anticline folds the rocks over the southern half of the Island, as can be seen in the figure below.

The anticline has formed two ranges of hills, first the ridge that runs through the core of the island from west to east, which is made up of chalk, and second the Southern Downs at the south of the island, near Ventnor. The Southern Downs sequence is almost flat lying, with a slight dip of approximately 1-2 towards the south. The sequence comprises thick permeable Chalk and Upper Greensand beds overlying thinner, impermeable Gault Clay, and then the Lower Greensand. The Isle of Wight has a huge amount of land instability, mainly acting on the southern half of the island. There mechanisms of failures are as such: Mass translational failures

This can be found in the Undercliff and is a result of gently dipping topography of the southern downs being eroded by the sea and seepage erosion and pulled down by gravity. Areas such as Blackgang Chine endure the most exposure to marine erosion due to being located on the South West coast. The Lower Greensand is generally weaker and more susceptible to erosion, so this experiences slip along the base of the Lower Greensand, where thin clay layers are present within the Sandrock. These thin layers of clay within the Sandrock and the Gault Clay have an important
influence on the stability of the area.

A talus is also sometimes formed from cliff face erosion and cliff falls, which has accumulated at the toe of the cliff. The talus helps provide stability to the cliff, but groundwater seeps into the talus and it can become saturated and is subject to landsliding therefore causing re-exposure of the lower cliff face.

Multiple rotational slipping

This occurs further in land in such places such as St Catherines point and Wheelers bay, near to the rear scarp. These multi-rotational failures are also found on the
upper Undercliff slopes upon slip surfaces within the Gault Clay.

This is due to the impermeable nature and lower shearing resistance of the Gault clay, otherwise known as the blue slipper; it acts as a basal shear surface to the other stratas in the upper part of the cliff, therefore causing them to slip. Water saturates the Upper Greensand as it cannot pass through the chalk, therefore affecting the pore pressure of the rocks, which in turn affects their effectives stress causing the material to fail more easily. There is also a broad syncline (downfold) in the rocks along the Undercliff (east to west), this is a huge factor in the activity of sensitivity to the different areas. This controls the height of the Gault Clay relative to sea level with the two most active areas occurring where the clay is at its highest elevation at the two ends of the fold. Thees situations are further aggravated by the steep topography. Toppling/Rock Falls

This is normally found in the vertically exposed strata and in steeper topographies, in areas such as the Undercliff and in Shanklin. This is caused by seepage erosion and mecahnical and chemical weathering, such as freeze thaw activity. Other failures, such as plane and wedge failures also occur in the cliff face. Mudslides

This is caused by the Gault Clay and groundwater, as well as additional rainfall. Periods of heavy rainfall, which happen more in the winter when higher rainfall totals and lower evaporation rates lead to rainfall being much more effective in raising groundwater levels and therefore causing more mudslides, in areas like St Catherines point.

Human influences, including site works and inadequate drainage has assisted nature in speeding up the landslide process in this area.

Discontinuities???