Scenic Granitic Landscapes of Corsica

  • Charles Le CoeurEmail author
Part of the World Geomorphological Landscapes book series (WGLC)


Corsica appears as “a mountain into the sea”. The high ridge is nowhere far from the coast and is shaped into steep slopes resulting from Tertiary deep incision along fault lines. Selective denudation has dug into granitic Corsican basement rocks, intruded by large plutonic bodies. Granite landforms offer a large set of mesoscale features and rock slopes carved by differential surface weathering. High mountain landscapes display Quaternary glacial and periglacial features, whereas lower hills and basins show evidence of long-term weathering. Scenic landforms are seen in the ring complex areas where selective erosion could either dig out easily weathered rocks (Porto basin) or leave salient high towers (Bavella Needles). At a local scale, contrasted slope patterns appear such as impressive granite slabs dominating Mediterranean scrubland and extensive saprolite-mantled basins with large boulders and castellated tors (Tavaro basin). Surface weathering processes have carved numerous microforms such as grooves, flutes, gnammas and tafoni either on large slabs or on boulders. Early human settlements are nested into granitic lowlands (Filitosa) where water is abundant and deep soils allow cultivation, whereas hills were partly deforested and are currently covered with extensive scrubland.


Ring structure Mesoscale features Selective erosion Surface weathering Tafoni 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Physical Geography (CNRS-Meudon)University of Paris 1ParisFrance

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