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Cliffs of Dover section collapses into the English Channel

This winter's freezing conditions may have weakened the Dover's famous chalk rock.

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The white cliffs of Dover are seen from the air in Dover, England. The chalk cliffs, which at points stand over 100 metres high, represent the closest point in England to mainland Europe. (Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

A large section of the white cliffs of Dover collapsed into the English Channel, the area's coastguard reported.

Several tons of the iconic chalk cliffs face fell off near an area known as Crab Bay, and spanned the area between between Langdon Cliffs and South Foreland Lighthouse, the Guardian reported. Dover Coastguard has yet to conduct a full survey to determine the exact amount and length of cliff that crumbled on Friday, according to the Guardian.

The cliffs are believed to have been weakened by rain and freezing conditions in the winter months, which caused cracks in the chalk, the Mirror reported

There were no injuries related to the rock fall, BBC News reported

"No one was injured, but it does serve as a reminder that if people are walking along the cliff-top or underneath, that the cliff can crumble away," said a coastguard spokesman, according to the Guardian. 

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The National Trust has since put up warning signs to alert walkers, according to BBC. 

The landmark, made popular by Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime song, has suffered large collapses before. The last collapse happened in January of last year, when several tons of rock and boulders broke off and fell in St Margaret's Bay between Dover and Deal, according to the Daily Mail

"We didn’t hear anything when it fell but it was big enough for people around here to be talking about it," Sam Wydymus, co-owner of the nearby Coastguard Pub, told the Daily Mail. 

Wydymus said the rock fall had exposed a new all-white section of the cliff which was not covered in moss, according to the Daily Mail. 

The Cliffs face towards mainland Europe across the narrowest part of the English Channel, the direction from which invasions traditionally came, and the cliffs have great meaning as symbolic guard of the United Kingdom.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120314/white-cliffs-dover-collapse-english-channel