Photo: Ellmax Photos
The White Cliffs of Dover, the steep, chalky cliffs that fringe England’s southeastern coastline, formed about 100 million years ago thanks to a “Goldilocks” set of ocean conditions, new researchsuggests.
What’s more, a massive new set of cliffs could be forming right now in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica as tiny algae shed their calcium-laden shells. However, depositing enough of that mineral, called calcite, to form similar cliffs could take millions of years.
“While we don’t have the great cliffs of the Southern Ocean, there is solid evidence that the calcite is making it to the seafloor,” William Balch, a biological oceanographer at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, Maine, and lead author of the new study, said in a statement.