Morphological cells in the Ragusa littoral (Sicily, Italy)
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DepartmentCiencias de la Tierra
SourceJournal of Coastal Conservation (2013) 17:369–377
Geomorphologic information, topographic maps (dated 1967), aerial photographs (dated 1999 and 2008), and spatial analysis procedures were used to investigate a 90 km long coastal sector in South Sicily (Italy). Information was obtained on coastal erosion/accretion areas, general sediment circulation pattern and littoral cell distribution. Human-made structures and natural headlands constituted important artificial limits dividing littoral in morphological cells. Ports and harbours were observed at Scoglitti, Punta Secca, Marina di Ragusa, Donnalucata and Pozzallo. Most of them worked as “transit” limits which interrupted predominant, eastward directed sedimentary transport, this way generating accretion in updrift (west) side of mentioned structures and erosion in downdrift (east) side. During the 1967–2008 period, about 62,000 m2 and 42,000 m2 of beach surface were respectively formed updrift of Scoglitti and Donnalucata ports. The construction of Pozzallo port gave rise to the formation of a “convergent” limit which favoured large accretion (94,000 m2) east of port structure. Most important natural structures were observed at Punta Zafaglione, P. Braccetto and Cava d’Aliga. The knowledge of littoral cell distribution acquires a great importance for appropriate management of coastal erosion processes which may be mitigated installing by-passing systems in ports and harbours and carrying out nourishment works in eroding areas, often located downdrift of ports and harbours (when these structures work as transit limits) and in central part of littoral cells (when these structures work as convergent limits).