Grotte marine a Lampedusa


In the central Mediterranean Sea,between Sicily and Africa,the Pelagie Islands belong to Italy but they are placed on the N rim of the African plateau. The ord “Pelagie”comes from the ancient Greek,meaning “open sea islands”.Lampedusa is the main island (extension 20.2 km 2 ,coastal development 33.3 km,maximum elevation 133 m).It has a roughly triangular shape,10 km long in the E-W direction,with a maximum width of about 4 km in the E half.A single town (about 5000 people)is also named Lampedusa.Tourism is the main revenue,followed by fishery.The island is an important scuba diving place.The Rabbits Beach,about in the middle of the S coast,is a laying place for sea turtles (Caretta caretta );in 1995 a land protected area was established.In 2002,most of the sea around Lampedusa was established as a marine protected area. From the geologic point of view,Lampedusa is a flat table of Tortonian-Messinian limestone and grainstone (GRASSO and PEDLEY,1988).Beds are nearly horizontal.The N coast is a cliff,50 to 130 m high,while the SE side slopes gently into the sea.On the N and E sides,the sea bed reaches quickly a depth of about 60 m while on the S side the sea is shallower.Several bays mark the S side of the island.Just S of the town lies Maluk Cape,the southernmost land in Italy (35°9’24” N). Apparently,no spelaeological researches were performed at Lampedusa in the past.No caves were registered in the Sicily Cave Register (MESSANA and PANZICA LA MANNA,1994).Just two references were found in literature (FRASSONI,1967;CRISCUOLO and MIRAGOLI,1988).Both papers are reports about short trips in the area.They point out the presence of some interesting caves. In 2001,during a scuba diving holiday at Lampedusa,the author positioned about 50 littoral caves.Furthermore,the local diving centers reported several references to underwater caves.At that time,the author was involved in the development of the Census of Italian sea caves (CICOGNA et al.,2003).A small research campaign was designed.Each year,the author spends one October week scuba diving and positioning sea caves.In the meantime,some land caves and several WW II bunkers were reported and positioned.Presently,153 caves and 10 arti ficial caves are identi fied;16 of them were surveyed.It is a very relaxed cav- ing activity,with little effort and small results.The paper describes 60 caves and presents 11 surveys. Unfortunately,many caves on the N side and on the westernmost half of the S side are approachable only by boat,so most of them are just positioned and they are not described in this paper.
Lampedusa è l’isola più meridionale d’Italia (35°30’N);pur appartenendo all’Italia,sorge dalla piattaforma africana.Si tratta di un tavolato di calcari e calcari arenacei di età Tortoniano-Messininana.L’isola è allungata per 10 km in senso E-W, ha un’estensione di 20 Km 2 ed uno sviluppo costiero di 33 Km. Il lavoro presenta i risultati preliminari di brevi campagne speleologiche.Sono state identi ficate 153 cavità naturali emerse,sommerse e semisommerse,oltre a 10 cavità arti ficiali.Vengono brevemente descritte 60 cavità naturali o arti ficiali e vengono presentati 11 rilievi.Nessuna cavità ha uno sviluppo notevole,ma sono presenti habitat di grotta semi-oscura e oscura.Non sono ancora stati svolti studi biologici o geologici,ma vengono riportate alcune osservazioni preliminari.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i15910725v29supp117

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