Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 172, Issue 7, pp 1975–1984 | Cite as

Fractal Dimension of the Hydrographic Pattern of Three Large Rivers in the Mediterranean Morphoclimatic System: Geomorphologic Interpretation of Russian (USA), Ebro (Spain) and Volturno (Italy) Fluvial Geometry

  • Carlo Donadio
  • Fernando Magdaleno
  • Adriano Mazzarella
  • G. Mathias Kondolf


By applying fractal geometry analysis to the drainage network of three large watercourses in America and Europe, we have calculated for the first time their fractal dimension. The aim is to interpret the geomorphologic characteristics to better understand the morphoevolutionary processes of these fluvial morphotypes; to identify and discriminate geomorphic phenomena responsible for any difference or convergence of a fractal dimension; to classify hydrographic patterns, and finally to compare the fractal degree with some geomorphic-quantitative indexes. The analyzed catchment of Russian (California, USA), Ebro (Spain), and Volturno (Italy) rivers are situated in Mediterranean-climate regions sensu Köppen, but with different geologic context and tectonic styles. Results show fractal dimensions ranging from 1.08 to 1.50. According to the geological setting and geomorphic indexes of these basins, the lower fractal degree indicates a prevailing tectonics, active or not, while the higher degree indicates the stronger erosion processes on inherited landscapes.


Fractal dimension fluvial geomorphology Mediterranean climate USA Europe 


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlo Donadio
    • 1
  • Fernando Magdaleno
    • 2
    • 3
  • Adriano Mazzarella
    • 1
  • G. Mathias Kondolf
    • 4
  1. 1.DiSTAR, Department of Earth Sciences, Environment and ResourcesUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly
  2. 2.CEDEX, Centre for Studies and Experimentation on Public WorksMinistry of Public Works - Ministry of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentMadridSpain
  3. 3.Technical University of MadridMadridSpain
  4. 4.LAEP, Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental PlanningUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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