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Volume 22 (2) - 1999


Morphology, genesis and evolution of rockpools along italian coasts

Pages 129-141


Recent research has provided more knowledge on identifying rockpools along Mediterranean coasts and on understanding their genesis and evolution. Observation of thirteen morphotypes falling into five different categories and some forms with intermediate features allowed a geneticmorphological classification to be proposed, partly bearing in mind descriptions furnished by other Authors in differing geographic sites. The observed rockpools may be found in any resistant substrate, in both emerged and submerged environments. They are generally circular in shape and show a general evolutionary trend towards spindle-shaped geometries. Frequent phenomena of piracy, producing rejuvenated forms and/or large, complex rockpools, are observed in the different morphotypes. Their genesis and evolution are closely linked to changing environmental conditions and their reciprocal interaction. Bio-erosion, action of bio-constructor micro-organisms and precipitation of salts in rock pores are prevalent. This processes are accompained by physicochemical erosion by both marine and meteoric waters and mechanical erosion by waves. Climatic conditions, characteristics of the rocky substrate and degree of exposure to wave action also greatly influence the development of rockpools. In addition to currently evolving forms, Ā«fossilĀ» forms may also be observed on marine terraces, closely correlated with Pleistocene tectonic and eustatic events which brought the rockpools to location higher than the present-day sea level. They are now exposed to subaerial erosion, together with submarine remodelling or progressive sediment infilling at depth beyond 10 m.

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