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Like a giant fist punching through the earth, a 1,000-foot long section of the beach below Bluff Point rose up 20 feet from the tidelands sometime last Friday or late Thursday, pushing boulders up from the ocean bottom, cracking sandstone slabs and toppling rocks upside down.
"There was just beach before," said Ron Hess, who lives on Bluff Road above the new uplift. "Now there are tidal pools."
Scientists don't know exactly what caused the uplift. It would take an earthquake over magnitude 7 to cause an uplift that high, said Peter Haeussler, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Anchorage.
"I have no idea," he said when he first learned of the uplift. "This sounds really, really bizarre."
Photo by Michael Armstrong
Two men climb an uplift on the beach below Bluff Point on Sunday.
The uplift runs in an arc around a small cove about 1.3 miles east of Diamond Creek Beach, a pleasant day hike accessible from a trailhead near Diamond Ridge Road and the Sterling Highway (see Outdoors, page 16). Where tide-covered boulders had once been, the ground now rises up in a long ridge of gray clay, sandstone, coal and barnacle-covered boulders. In last weekend's heat, rockweed had dried up and mussels rotted. The cobble beach itself seemed higher. Small rockfalls trickled down to the beach.
Visitors to the beach on Friday morning after low tide reported the rockweed remained wet and fresh, suggesting the uplift happened sometime early July 3 or late July 2.
The Hesses said they didn't feel any major earthquakes, and none were measured by USGS. They said they felt some small earthquakes last week.
Why the uplift happened now -- and didn't happen in the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake -- is unknown.
"That's what's really mysterious here is 'Why now?'" Higman said. "There weren't any substantial earthquakes. The ground wasn't really wet."
"It's very intriguing," Higman said. "It certainly threw me for a loop," he added.
No field work by state or federal geologists has yet to be done, although Haeussler said he would be interested in examining the site. Berg thought the uplift could begin to erode with the next cycle of high tides and fall storms. The uplift is accessible on low tides and visible on high tides.
Below Bluff Point, a new fissure opened up at the base of the 800-foot high cliff. The uplift could be a re-activation of a landslide that happened perhaps 12,000 years ago.
Originally posted by Essan
As this thread has shifted way off into kooky sci fi land and there's clearly not going to be any chance of a serious discusion on the geological causes of this rather minor, but intriguing, event...
Originally posted by Chonx
reply to post by Amagnon
errr, what? a black hole in the centre of the Earth? Wow, I've never heard that one before! So how is the Earth itself not being pulled in? Why would the Earth expand in such a situation? Where is the massive gravitational field which would be produced by definition If there was a black hole present? The expanding Earth theory in itself is attractive in some respects but In my opinion, what you're suggesting is ridiculous!