Sea caves are a type of cave formed primarily by the wave action of the sea. The coastal scenery of the Gozitan coast is very interesting in that sea caves and other coastal landforms, such as sea arches, develop at the sea level. We mapped seventy-nine semi-submerged sea caves opening at the sea level, five completely submerged sea caves, seven sea arches, one sea stack, and one shelter around the coast of Gozo, mainly in the Western and Eastern parts of the island, due to favorable lithological and topographical conditions. Additionally, we surveyed the topography of the emerged part of nine sea caves using the iPhone build-in LiDAR sensor, and eight sea caves in the submerged part using SCUBA equipment. This inventory represents the most detailed example of a database of coastal caves and related forms in the Mediterranean, mainly sourced from a swimming survey along the entire island. Thanks to the combination of outputs of the above-water emerged and submerged surveys, we defined three types of semi-submerged sea caves: (i) box caves, (ii) joint caves, and (iii) complex caves. Moreover, we added a cave-like landform above the sea level on calcarenites called shelter, or a little extended notch deeply carved into the cliff. The shape mainly depends on the structural and lithological setting of sea cliffs. In the Western sector of the island, we also discovered the only sea cave in Gozo, measuring 122 m in length and 10 m in width, with its floor developing above the mean sea level. This cave base is of interest due to rounded landforms related to marine erosion. In the innermost part of the cave, there is also a beach with rounded pebble at an elevation of about 7 m asl. Considering the tectonic stability of the island, it could be possibly related to the MIS 5.5 highstand.

Sea Caves and Other Landforms of the Coastal Scenery on Gozo Island (Malta): Inventory and New Data on Their Formation

Furlani, Stefano
;
Devoto, Stefano;Grego, Pietro;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Sea caves are a type of cave formed primarily by the wave action of the sea. The coastal scenery of the Gozitan coast is very interesting in that sea caves and other coastal landforms, such as sea arches, develop at the sea level. We mapped seventy-nine semi-submerged sea caves opening at the sea level, five completely submerged sea caves, seven sea arches, one sea stack, and one shelter around the coast of Gozo, mainly in the Western and Eastern parts of the island, due to favorable lithological and topographical conditions. Additionally, we surveyed the topography of the emerged part of nine sea caves using the iPhone build-in LiDAR sensor, and eight sea caves in the submerged part using SCUBA equipment. This inventory represents the most detailed example of a database of coastal caves and related forms in the Mediterranean, mainly sourced from a swimming survey along the entire island. Thanks to the combination of outputs of the above-water emerged and submerged surveys, we defined three types of semi-submerged sea caves: (i) box caves, (ii) joint caves, and (iii) complex caves. Moreover, we added a cave-like landform above the sea level on calcarenites called shelter, or a little extended notch deeply carved into the cliff. The shape mainly depends on the structural and lithological setting of sea cliffs. In the Western sector of the island, we also discovered the only sea cave in Gozo, measuring 122 m in length and 10 m in width, with its floor developing above the mean sea level. This cave base is of interest due to rounded landforms related to marine erosion. In the innermost part of the cave, there is also a beach with rounded pebble at an elevation of about 7 m asl. Considering the tectonic stability of the island, it could be possibly related to the MIS 5.5 highstand.
2023
2-giu-2023
Pubblicato
https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3263/13/6/164
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3048338
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