‘The Dice’ at Oxwich Bay, Gower Peninsula

ESP staff visited Oxwich Bay on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales and captured some fantastic pics of the rockfall (known as ‘The Dice’) which occurred 19th-20th December 2009. Hywel captured an exposed fossil bed on one of the fallen blocks, and another block with possible slickensides. The area was previously a quarry for limestone up until the 19th century.

According to a BGS case study, ‘the Oxwich Bay area is underlain by the Oxwich Head Limestone Formation, which consists of thickly bedded, fine- to coarse-grained, recrystallised, grey, mottled, skeletal packstones (Howells, 2007). At the site of the rockfall, the beds dip at approximately 20° towards the north-east. Oxwich Point forms the southern limb of the Oxwich syncline.’

It is believed that the landslide occurred due to water penetrating the fractures in the limestone, then freezing and expanding causing the rock to fail due to the pressure. At the time, there were long spells of freezing temperatures and high rainfall.

ESP has extensive experience in Land Stability and Infrastructure Management. This includes mine workings and an extensive portfolio of slope stabilisation works which have been carried out in the UK, particularly in Wales where a large number of colliery spoil tips and post glacial landslips exist. Read more on our experience, here.

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