Click here for a larger version of this picture The first photo is a closer view of the rubble ridge at Robles Point prior to Mitch. It shows the partly vegetated rubble ridge and the gray boulders of corals and conch shells. The woman at far left is standing along the shore.

The next photo was taken in the same location after Mitch (notice the 3 palm trees for reference). The storm deposited a fairly thick layer of white, clean coral and conch rubble directly on top of the older rubble layer, extending the ridge in a seaward direction by "accretion". The people are standing at the old shoreline shown in the previous photo; the beach has been widened slightly by deposition of the rubble.

Click here for a larger version of this picture This is a view looking north from the location shown in the last photo. It shows new coral and conch rubble accreted along the beach, which we found extends all the way north to Rocky Point (Reef Point, as it is known by geologists).

Click here for a larger version of this picture Looking north along the new, wide beach at a location about halfway between Robles Point and Rocky (Reef) Point. The beach has been extended laterally by about 45 feet that resulted from deposition of new sand here, which was derived from offshore. Prior to Mitch, the beach was strewn with coral boulders and garbage, and we used to take our students to Rocky (Reef) Point on what we called "The Death March" because of the difficulty of the hike. This new "Mitch Highway Beach" now makes walking to Rocky Point quick and easy. Perhaps we‰ll have our future students crawl instead of walk to maintain at least some of the flavor of our former "Death March".

Click here for a larger version of this picture But nature always strikes a balance between geologically constructive and destructive processes. Here, between Robles and Rocky Point, about 3 feet of vertical beach erosion occurred prior to deposition of a fresh new layer of coral rubble on top of the old beach during Mitch‰s reign of terror.

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