Coastal landforms and processes
The course, which includes lectures, laboratory and field activities, aims to provide students with the basic theoretical and practical knowledge for understanding coastal environments and processes that determine their dynamics and their evolution.
The course aims to provide knowledge related to coastal type classification and dynamics, and to identify coastal issues and measures for their protection and conservation.
At the end of the course, the student will be able to proceed with the analysis of coastal systems.
Based on the acquired knowledge, the student will be able to know in an autonomous way the coastal issues
and to adopt the best methods of intervention.
At the end of the course, the student will acquire autonomy in dealing with the topics and draw up a paper using the specific scientific language.
The course will allow the acquisition of the fundament of coastal knowledge and the methods for managing in autonomy the consultation of texts and publications (also in English) of specific topics
Coastal systems and main factors influencing their evolution (short and long term). Coastal forms. The main types of coastline and their classification criteria.
Sea level oscillations and their morphological and sedimentary effects on the coasts. Coastal depositional sequences. Quaternary climatic oscillations and glacio-eustatic sea level changes. Sea level changes during the Holocene and Upper-Pleistocene and main effects on Italian coasts.
Coasts subject to vertical movements and the relative sea level changes. Tectonic, volcano-tectonic and isostatic processes.
The classification of Valentin.
Geomorphological indicators of sea level changes. Palaeo-deposites and marine palaeo-forms. Marine terraces. Coral reefs.
Submerging coasts: Rias and Fjords.
The waves: wave generation and wave measurement. Definition of: physiographic unit, traverse and fetch sector, wind regime and wave planes. The propagation of waves in shallow waters (shoaling, refraction, breaking, diffraction and reflection phenomena). The longshore currents. The long coast sediments transport. Impacts of human structures on coastal drift.
Tides: causes and distribution. The main effects on the coasts of the tides. Microtidal, mesotidal and macrotide regimes. Tides measuring. Estuaries and tidal flats.
Beaches. The origin of sediments. Sediments size and the Udden-Wentworth scale. Analytical methods for sediments size analysis. Beach profile and sedimentary structures. The sediment balance. Beach morphodynamic classification: reflecting, intermediate and dissipative beaches. Coastal lagoons and ponds.
Coastal dunes. Dunes formation. Geographical distribution of coastal dunes. The anthropic impacts and the dune system defense.
Spits and barrier systems.
Delta definition and classification: wave-, tide- and fluvial-dominated systems.
The coasts dominated by the ice. The permafrost.
The high coasts and their evolution. The main processes influencing high rocky coasts evolution. Coastal cliffs, wave cut platforms and tidal notches.
Coasts of the intertropical area. Coral reefs: geographical distribution, origin of reef and reef-atolls. Morphology of the barrier reef. Mangroves.
Present-day climate changes and their impacts on the coasts. Sea level rise and future scenarios.
Coastal risk: high and low coasts erosion, marine flooding processes.
Field trips and laboratory activities.
Introduction to coastal systems (4 h):
Coastal forms and processes The main types of coastline and their classification criteria.
Long term coastal evolution (16 h):
Quaternary climatic oscillations and glacio-eustatic sea level changes.
Coasts subject to vertical movements and the relative sea level changes.
Geomorphological indicators of sea level changes.
Short term coastal evolution:
Coastal hydrodynamics (6h):
The waves generation their propagation in coastal shallow waters. The longshore currents. The long coast sediments transport.
Tides (4 h):
Tides: causes and distribution. Estuaries and tidal flats.
Low and high coasts (16 h):
Beaches characters and classification. Coastal lagoons and ponds.
Coastal dunes. Spits and barrier systems.
Delta definition and classification.
The coasts dominated by the ice.
The high coasts and their evolution.
Coasts of the intertropical area.
Coastal Risks (2 h):
Coastal risk assessment. Present-day climate changes and their impacts on the coasts.
Lectures, laboratory and field activities.
La forma delle coste. Geomorfologia costiera, impatto antropico e difesa dei litorali. Author: Enzo Pranzini. Zanichelli (2004)
Coastal Environments and Global Change
Editors: Gerd Masselink, Roland Gehrels ISBN: 978-0-470-65660-0
Wiley - American Geophysical Union (2014)
Introduction to Coastal Processes and Geomorphology
Author: Robin Davidson-Arnott Cambridge University Press (2010)
PDF provided during the course
Oral exam. The ability to explain clearly the topics of the course will be evaluated. The exam is passed if the score obtained is equal to or higher than 18/30