Geomorphic setting and geohazard-related features along the Ionian Calabrian margin between Capo Spartivento and Capo Rizzuto (Italy)

Abstract

The aim of this work is to describe the morpho-dynamic processes of coastal and submarine areas based on morpho-bathymetric data and sub-bottom acoustic profiles from the Calabrian Ionian margin (from Capo Spartivento to Capo Rizzuto). We describe some of the most significant geo-hazard features and show some examples of their complex interactions and related potential risk. The relationship between these geo-hazard features and the active tectonics and some severe historical earthquakes and tsunamis is also discussed. The studied area is characterized by several well developed canyon systems. The retrogressive erosion of the canyon heads affects the continental shelf and interacts with the coastal morpho-sedimentary processes, evidencing the intense geomorphic activity of this sector of Ionian margin. The widespread evidence of mass wasting processes and slope instability, together with the historical seismicity, makes this area also an ideal case study for investigating on the possible relationship between earthquakes and landslide-triggered tsunamis and assessing the potential risk.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by University of Trieste (Department of GeoSciences; Resp. F. Fanucci and E. Colizza). We are grateful to the support of Project MaGIC (Marine Geohazard along the Italian Coasts; Resp. F.L. Chiocci) funded by the Italian Civil Protection Department and coordinated by the Institute of Environmental Geology and Geoengineering of the Italian National Research Council (IGAG-CNR). The marine geophysical data were acquired in the framework of the MESC-05 project (Morphology and Evolution of the Submarine Canyons in the Ionian Margin of Calabria; Resp. E. Colizza), on board of the R/V OGS-EXPLORA and supported by the Department for the Development of Marine Technology and Research of the Osservatorio Geofisico Sperimentale (Trieste; Resp. R. Ramella). The Side-Scan Sonar data were collected by the Italian Department of the Environment and of the Territory Management. (SI.DI.MAR). L. Ferranti (University of Naples—FedericoII) is thanked for his helpful suggestions. We are also grateful to D. Ridente (IGAG-CNR) and of an anonymous reviewer for their careful review and to F.L. Chiocci for editorial guidance.

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Morelli, D., Cuppari, A., Colizza, E. et al. Geomorphic setting and geohazard-related features along the Ionian Calabrian margin between Capo Spartivento and Capo Rizzuto (Italy). Mar Geophys Res 32, 139–149 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11001-011-9130-4

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Keywords

  • Marine geo-hazard
  • Submarine landslide
  • Submarine canyon
  • Active tectonics
  • Marine morphology
  • Marine cartography
  • Ionian Calabrian margin