Topic: Strata - Beach Two

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Beach Two runs south from the Pipeline to the northern boundary of Twin Creeks.  The cliffs are very high and are composed of interbedded mudstones and sandstones with an overlying layer of sand and volcanic ash.  This is true for all of the cliffs on the Tongaporutu coastline.

For roughly half its distance travelling south, the beach runs more or less in a straight line with high cliffs.  It then turns landward to form a large, curved open type bay that culminates in a high, impassable bluff.  This bluff is the northern boundary of Twin Creeks.


23 January 2004   PHO2008-567, PHO2008-604  (Examples only)

CLIFF SEQUENCING.  This was the first time I accessed Beach Two.  Due to its length however, I did not walk right down to its southern boundary with Twin Creeks.  The Pipeline is the only access point to both Beach One and Beach Two.  The high tide, like along most of the Tongaporutu coastline, comes right up to the cliffs.  There are very few upper dry beach areas.

Aside from the stupendous soaring cliffs, the main thing I noticed was a largish rock boulder field that extended from the cliffs right down to the water-line.  This boulder field started a short distance south of the Pipeline and extended part-way down the beach before giving way to the more usual sand built beach.  The rocks were medium sized and roundish.  They were also incredibly smooth, like they had been highly polished, but minus the shine.  I presumed this to be due to wave action.  They were like muscled up versions of ordinary sand grains.  I believe they follow fractal scaling.



16 October2005  


At the major boulder field, the perfectly sanded boulders were brutal to clamber over.  I had to be extra careful because of my knees and ankles.  An injury here could be fatal if I was unable to escape the incoming tide.  Though cursing the rocks, I couldn’t help but marvel at their perfection.  Not a blemish in sight, on most of the rocks, particularly the ones higher up the beach.  There were no living things on them like mussels.  Wave action had sculpted the rocks clean.  Like large, scrubbed stones and all the same colour, glaring grey/white.  At the low tide mark and beyond, mussels did inhabit the boulders.  I presumed this to be because these boulders had migrated far enough to seaward to be beyond the worst of the inner washing machine zone.

The few rocks located at the upper beach zone that did have some small mussel spat on them had probably migrated there fairly recently.  Either that, or there had been a relatively extended calm sea state period.  Larger mussels were only found closer to the low tide mark.


26 June 2006  


This is my favourite viewpoint looking south along Beach Two.  The large bluff, partly shown to the immediate left, is the boundary that separates Beaches One and Two.  I had wanted to get a nice sunset image with a reflection and a clear view of Mt Egmont.  This day started out with plenty of promise, but unfortunately, the mountain clouded over towards evening.

Both of the images shown here were taken around mid afternoon.  PHO2008-1940 was taken with Provia 100 film while PHO 2008-1941 was taken with Velvia 50 film.  (Both were 120 roll film which is medium format).  While the latter image has better colour than the former one taken with Provia, the former is the more accurate colour-wise of the two.  The cliffs can be intensely coloured in evening light, but they weren’t at the time I took these photos.

Because some of my images may be used for research and/or educational purposes, it is important that they show the scene as close as possible to how I actually saw it, not hyped up with colours that aren’t true.  This may be perfectly acceptable for images that are utilized as art works, but not when they could be used for scientific purposes, in my humble opinion.

I only used two rolls of Velvia film (ten frames each roll) during the project.  This was only because I had been unable to get Provia at the time and thus they were used as a back-up.  Where Velvia has been used, this has been disclosed, as here.



12 September 2007


After spending time on Beach One, although Beach Two was easily accessible, I decided to just take the tape recorder and only walk part way down, orally recording what I saw.  Although I noticed a fresh cliff calving at the base, just before the waterfall, what really captured my attention was a small family of boulders, ranging in size from a mini car to a large car.


One boulder in particular had separate coloured strata in it, roughly a foot in width.  One stratum was a rusty brown colour with similarly coloured small sliced pebbles embedded within it.  The strata immediately next to it was grey coloured with grey sliced pebbles embedded in it.  Where was my camera when I needed it!  Of course I could have gone back to the Pipeline to get it, but the light was getting too low for good photography.  I needed to return again to record them.  I couldn’t tell how long the boulders had been there.  I must try and photograph them soon before they get smashed up by the sea.

Another thing that caught my eye were a number of rock concretions (I call them soccer balls) that were protruding out from the cliff.  It was interesting to note that they were all in a line together.

27 September 2007  

PHO2011-1055, PHO2011-1056, PHO2011-1057

PHO2011-1063, PHO2011-1064

Before arriving at the multi-coloured boulder that I couldn’t photograph on 12.9.07, I became intrigued by a cliff formation high up.  I just love the sandy/rusty colours that are endemic to this section of Beach Two.

Next, I homed in on the multi-coloured boulder.  The colours being dictated by the separate coloured strata.  I took several photos, one of which was a location shot to show it in context to the surrounding cliffs.  In the bright light it didn’t look as dynamic as it had in the diffused light encountered on 12.9.07.

Further down the beach, past the waterfall, I photographed the soccer ball concretions that I had also observed on the 12th of this month. protruding out from them.  They were fairly evenly spaced apart and were contained in three bands at regular intervals.  The highest band was roughly 30 feet above the ground.  Some of these soccer ball concretions had chunks carved off them, presumably by waves.  In the bottom band, the soccer ball concretions were smaller than those in the top two bands.  The middle band had the most prominent rock balls.

Also at this site, there was a small rock pillar that was being carved out immediately to the south of a small, forming blind cave.  What was unusual about this rock pillar is that it was about five feet above the ground.



22 June 2009  


With my Fuji panoramic camera in tow, I finally accessed Beach Two after an almost two year absence.  As expected, the boulder with the separate coloured strata had been destroyed.  Also, the small rock pillar had been destroyed.  The photo shows the cannon ball rock concretions, plus some of the smooth, roundish stones/small boulders.  There is some mussel spat present on some of the stones.  This high up the beach they tend to have a short shelf life.  Only down at the low water mark do the mussels attain any size.

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