Coastal and Submarine Morphology

Coastal and Submarine Morphology

Coastal and Submarine Morphology

Coastal and Submarine Morphology

Excerpt

The two parts of the earth's surface studied in this work are very unequal in size. If we define the coastal zone as the intertidal zone it covers, according to Ph. H. Kuenen, only 150,000 sq. km., but the exact area is difficult to calculate as a result of estuaries. One of the greatest widths exposed by the tide, 20 km. or more, is found in the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel.

In practice, the zone affected by coastal processes is somewhat greater than this, since we have to consider cliffs and an area below low water springs, the exact extent of which is a matter for discussion (pp. 19-20 and 69). Thus, we are dealing with the zone where subaerial, submarine, and purely coastal processes interact.

The submarine zone, if we consider its area, is of the greatest importance in geomorphology, since it covers 70.8 per cent. of the earth's surface, excluding lakes. Its actual significance is not yet proportional to its area, because direct visual study below 40-50 m. is still difficult, dangerous, and rarely undertaken. Except in shallow water, all methods of investigation are 'blind'. Although this state of affairs will probably be changed in the near future, the coastal zone is at present infinitely better known than the submarine zone. This is the reason why we shall discuss it in some detail, but only give a general outline of submarine geomorphology. Thus, the balance between the two parts of this work represents the present state of knowledge and is intended as no slight on the value of submarine research, which is as difficult as and more costly than research in deserts and high mountains. We sincerely hope that the submarine section of this book becomes rapidly out of date, and that before very long it will be possible to give a fuller, more precise, and less hypothetical, but still geographical, account of the sea-floor.

I wish to express my sincere thanks for help, information, and advice, which they freely gave during the preparation of this work, to my teachers MM. de Martonne and Cholley as well as to MM. Baulig, Berthois, Birot, Bourcart, Cailleux, Meynier, and Tricart, to the chief . . .

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