Earth Cut

Friday - 16/10/2020 12:54
Earth Cut faces Hon Vung Volcano and Thoi Loi Volcano on one side, while on the other it fronts the sea. Looking seaward, one can observe a submerged lava field given the poetic name of “Tam Toa Ban Giai”–literally meaning a submerged rocky area in front of Tam Toa temple–by ancient artists. Locals called Earth Cut “a cave,” and it was home to storks in the winter. However, the recent road  construction destroyed much of the cut, leaving only the wall.

An examination of the cliff shows the potential of a vaulted cave, similar to Hang Cau Cliff (site 7). The cliff also reveals layers of volcanic ash and debris, originally accumulated in the marine environment. The dust and ash are smaller and finer compared to those seen at Hang Cau Cliff, implying they scattered further from an eruption source, although both cliffs are part of Thoi Loi crater’s outer rim. This would appear to indicate that the material is from Thoi Loi. Another possibility is that Earth Cut is the product of a Hon Vung eruption, but in that case the eruption must have been weak. As there is no crater on top of Hon Vung, the first hypothesis—that the ash and debris came from Thoi Loi—appears more convincing. 

In terms of the layers of volcanic ash and debris, Hang Cau Cliff is of more significance and interest. However, Earth Cut is unique, as there are at least two minor faults on the left hand side of the observer. 

One fault has a 30-40 degree slope, and is tens of meters in height from the base to the top of the cliff, and is 20-30 centimeters wide. This fault shows relative displacement of its two hanging walls and footwall blocks, of which the left one, outside, drops relative to the right one. 

Signs of displacement are visible even in the volcanic material inside the 20-30 meter wide fault. Geologists call such a fault a “normal fault,” where the hanging wall block drops down. Other faults, “reverse faults,” have a much lower angle of dip. Geologists also believe this fault formed approximately the same time as the ash and volcanic debris accumulated in the sea water . One can view a similar fault at Chua Hang-Champa Cave Pagoda (site 10).

Earth Cut is near the main port in West Commune, An Hai District. It is convenient for tourists to visit the Earth Cut and explore nearby sites such as Xo La Well (site 2), 50 meters away.
 
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