Fractal dimension of the hydrographic pattern of three large rivers in the Mediterranean morphoclimatic system: geomorphologic interpretation of Russian (USA), Ebro (Spain) and Volturno (Italy) fluvial geometry
1 DiSTAR, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell’Ambiente e delle Risorse, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Largo San Marcellino 10, 80138 Napoli, Italy
2 CEDEX, Centre for Studies and Experimentation on Public Works, Ministry of Public Works - Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Alfonso XII 3, 28014 Madrid, Spain
3 Technical University of Madrid, Alfonso XII 3, 28014 Madrid, Spain
4 LAEP, Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, University of California, Berkeley, 202 Wurster Hall 2000, 94720 Berkeley, CA, USA.
Pure and Applied Geophysics, 2014
By applying fractal geometry analysis to the drainage network of three large watercourses in America and Europe, we have calculated for the first time their fractal dimension. The aim is to interpret the geomorphologic characteristics to better under stand the morphoevolutionary processes of these fluvial morphotypes; to identify and discriminate geomorphic phenomena responsible for any difference or convergence of a fractal dimension; to classify hydrographic patterns, and finally to compare the fractal degree with some geomorphic-quantitative indexes. The analyzed catchment of Russian (California, USA), Ebro (Spain), and Volturno (Italy) rivers are situated in Mediterranean-climate regions sensu Köppen, but with different geologic context and tectonic styles. Results show fractal dimensions ranging from 1.08 to 1.50. According to the geological setting and geomorphic indexes of these basins, the lower fractal degree indicates a prevailing tectonics, active or not, while the higher degree indicates the stronger erosion processes on inherited landscapes.
Key-words: Fractal dimension, fluvial geomorphology, Mediterranean climate, USA, Europe