Geomorphological Characterization of the Coastal and Marine Area between Primera and Segunda Angostura, Strait of Magellan (Chile)


  • Umberto Simeoni
  • Giorgio Fontolan
  • Ester Colizza


Geomorphology, coastal zone, littoral dynamics, statistical analysis, Strait of Magellan


A detailed geomorphological study of the Chilean coastal area of the Strait of Magellan aimed at the determination and description of different coastal environments and related processes.  The survey data have been compiled in a map that outlines the influence of glacial history in the coastal landscape development. Sea-bed characteristics such as bathymetry and sedimentology, together with information on tides, direction and magnitude of currents are also presented in the map. A subdivision of the coastal area was carried out dividing the coast line into 40 homogeneous segments, each described by 15 repesentative morphological and physical variables. By means of multivariate analyses of the data matrix six coastal groups subdivision was obtained. Groups were reviewed and re-interpreted in order to highlight relationships between coastal landforms and variables. Three factors fully describe the main coastal types and constraints. First factor groups the inherited coastal landforms, that are cliffs developed where ancient morainal deposits heighten. Second factor represents the wind-enhanced coastal landforms where the combined action of tide and wind permits the development of the highest coastal form variability. Third factor groups the tide-controlled coastal landforms, that are well-specialized landforms, mainly tidal flats and marshes. The Factor I-II-III path defines increasing coastal stability.