The Question of "Zonality" in Coastal Geomorphology - With Tentative Application Along the East Coast of the USA


  • D. Kelletat


Coral reefs, mangroves, bioconstruction, bioerosion, vermetids, sabellariae, beachrock, kelp beds, sea-ice, hypersaline claypans, oyster reefs


This study investigates the zonality of modern coastal processes along a meridional profile from Florida to New York. The purpose of this research was to determine the dominant processes of coastal development, as inferred from inherent zonal qualities. Among them are coastal protection by poorly developed coral reefs, sedimentary tidal flats with mangroves, hypersaline claypans, biogenous rock forming organisms (vermetids, oysters or sabellariae) in sublittoral positions, sediment fixing calcareous algae or sea grasses, bioerosion, beachrock, and eolianite. The polar limits of the oyster zone and the southern limit of coarse shelly beaches and kelp beds are important features that influence processes of coastal development. Limiting factors of these distribution patterns are briefly discussed. For the east coast of the United States, a variety of different but spatially related zonal features are delineated, viz. sea-ice cover and mangrove distribution patterns.

Author Biography

D. Kelletat