Santa Barbara Sea Cliffs

March 25, 2003


Provided by: Vanessa Roberts
Summary authors & editors: Martin Ruzek; Vanessa Roberts

These cliffs on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara near Campus Point portray some of the coastal beauty that is UCSB. These cliffs, lined with shrubs and plants native to the area, are cut into coastal marine terraces deposited in the late Pleistocene about 45,000 years ago. The base of the terrace consists of fossiliferous beach cobbles, grading upwards into massive beach sand and sandstone, with locally occurring estuarine organic-rich clay and silt. Fossils indicate that the terrace deposits formed in and near shallow water, and most likely accumulated during marine regressions resulting from eustatic drops in sea level and/or tectonic uplift which subsequently raised the cliffs to their current elevation. Tidal pools at the base of the cliffs provide habitat for birds that reside on the coast.

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