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Trinidad’s Sea Stack Gardens

Articles: Trinidad’s Sea Stack Gardens

Pewetole Island at dawn, with Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) on its crown; at high tide, Pewetole is an island. Photographs by Ted Pease
The stacks are remnants of the past

Marking where the sea cliff was,
But nothing here is made to last.
A cliff retreats; it always does.

from “Sea Stacks of Kerry,” Richard Hayes Phillips, 2001
Sea stack gardens? Aren’t sea stacks those rocks near the coast that stick up out of the ocean? How can they have gardens?

Sea stacks begin as part of a headland or sea cliff. Relentless pounding by ocean waves erodes the softer, weaker parts of the rock first, leaving harder, more resistant rock behind. Sometimes sea arches are formed where waves have hollowed out a line of weakness and created an arched opening; sea stacks can also form when the roof of a sea arch collapses. The Pacific Coast is rich with sea stacks, from California’s Big Sur to Oregon.[1. The California Coastal National Monument, established in the year 2000 by presidential proclamation, runs the entire length of California, to a distance of twelve nautical miles off shore. Its purpose is to protect the ...

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