The exact solution for gravity-induced stresses beneath a vertical cliff presented here has application to the design of cut slopes in rock, compares favorably with published photoelastic and finite-element results for this problem, and satisfies the condition that shear and normal stresses vanish on the ground surface, except at the bottom corner where stress concentrations exist. The solution predicts that horizontal stresses are tensile away from the bottom of the cliff-effects caused by movement below the cliff in response to the gravity loading of the cliff. Also, it is shown that along the top of the cliff normal stresses reduce to those predicted for laterally constrained flat-lying topography. ?? 1993.