Linking subaerial erosion with submarine geomorphology in the western Ionian Sea (south of the Messina Strait), Italy

Rajasmita Goswami, Neil C. Mitchell, Simon H. Brocklehurst, Andrea Argnani
  • Basin Research, April 2016, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/bre.12196

How streams on Sicily and Calabria affect the adjacent seabed

What is it about?

Streams carry eroded particles from land to the sea as they slowly erode it, though it is not usually obvious how the sediment deposits within the sea relate to the erosion on land. The coasts of Sicily and Calabria around the northwestern Ionian Sea are steep and underwater there is almost no shelf. This allows us to work out where sediments from the streams are likely to end up when they are placed in the sea by the streams. We found that streams dropping only small amounts of sediment into the sea linked with steeper and smaller submarine channels.

Why is it important?

Although there has been a lot of interest in so-called "source to sink" studies of how sediment produced from erosion on land ends up forming deposits under water, few have been able to do so effectively, because the paths over which the sediment is transported is usually too long and complicated. In this case, we were able to quantify erosion rates of individual channels on land and link those fluxes with particular channels offshore.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Neil C. Mitchell