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01-croatia-770This reflective beach lies between two rocky headlands along the coast of Dubrovnik, a Croatian coastal city that lies at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian Coast. In the background is the historic section of the city known as 'Old Town.' Jutting into the Adriatic Sea are walls that run almost 2 km around the entire city. The walls are 4 to 6 m thick on the landward side, but are much thinner on the seaward side of the city. The system of turrets and towers were intended to protect the vulnerable coastal city from attack. The city of Dubrovnik has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1979.

In the foreground lies a perched beach where mixed grain sizes make up three storm berms. Marked by coarser grain sizes (pebbles and cobbles) arranged into cusps, the seaward beach cusps are more distinct than the landward ones, which are older and more disturbed by subaerial processes and foot traffic during the tourist season. The seaward-most winter berm is being eroded into a steep scarp above the beachface. The subaerial part of this beach is much larger than the submarine component as the seafloor rapidly drops to deeper water a short distance from shore. The summer beach profile would lack this scarp allowing the beachface to slope more gently seaward as an intermediate morphodynamic beach state characterizes more quiescent conditions along the shore.

The Dalmatian Coast is well known for its karst features and relief of coast-parallel anticlines and synclines (Kelletat, 2005). Because beaches are rare along this predominantly rocky coast, Dubrovnik is a magnet for beachgoers.

(Photograph by Antonia Gardner, November 2010).

Reference: Kelletat, D., 2005. Dalmatian coasts. In: Schwartz, M.L. (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Coastal Science. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 356-357.

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