Geographies and the territories that opportunistically spring up to inhabit them, populate their landscapes and exploit their riches are merely superficial manifestations of more substratal tendencies of movement. What appears stable and static is, in fact, volatile, mutable, unstable. Coastal erosion, whether attributed to climate change or less anthropocene causes, can be read as a hyper-accelerated manifestation of geological time on a human scale. The processes of geological change, measured out in millennia and thus ordinarily imperceptible to the evanescent oscillations of human mortality, and the imaginations seated therein are dromologically condensed to a scale measurable in months or years. This sudden access or awareness, or maybe confluence between human and geological time, gives us a glimpse into the scales of the universe normally incomprehensible, and in doing so a glimpse too of our fragility and ephemerality. This article in itself ‘a quantity of faded images accompanied by only partial notations’ explores the way in which the tools and apparatuses we use to interrogate the detritus of both past and the present are unstable, mutable and often inadequate.