Cyclic Steps at the Head of Channelized Features Along the Calabrian Margin (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy)

  • Alessandro BosmanEmail author
  • Daniele Casalbore
  • Rocco Dominici


High-resolution multibeam bathymetry have revealed coaxial trains of crescent-shaped bedforms within the heads of channelized features lying in shallow-water sectors along the tectonically-controlled Calabrian Margin. These bedforms have wavelengths of tens or a few hundreds of metres and wave heights of a few metres, and their crest-lines trend perpendicular to the maximum slope gradients. Repeated multibeam surveys carried out in 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013 showed a rapid and significant morphological evolution of the channel’s floors, with the generation or upslope migration of the bedforms. Based on their size, upslope migration and similarities to crescent-shaped bedforms recognized in other active canyon heads, these features can be interpreted as cyclic steps. The bedforms are, in fact, formed or modified by frequent slope failures and related sedimentary flows, whose occurrence is favoured by the concurrent presence of several predisposing and triggering mechanisms, such as a high sedimentation rate due to a steep coastal creek, severe storms and seismic events.


Crescent-shaped bedforms Seafloor mapping Repeated multibeam bathymetry Geohazard 



This research was funded by the Italian MaGIC (Marine Geohazards along the Italian Coasts) Project and carried out in the framework of the RITMARE (Ricerca ITaliana per il MARE) Project. Crews of R/Vs Urania, Universitatis and Thetis are gratefully acknowledged along with the fellow researchers and students who took part in the sea surveys. We also thank Alan Lounds for the English revision.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Bosman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniele Casalbore
    • 1
  • Rocco Dominici
    • 2
  1. 1.Istituto di Geologia Ambientale e GeoingegneriaConsiglio Nazionale delle RicercheRomeItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Biologia, Ecologia e Scienze della TerraUniversità della CalabriaCosenzaItaly

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