A New Approach for the Study of the Coast Indentation Index

Matteo Spagnolo, Isabel Arozarena Llopis, Marta Pappalardo, Paolo Roberto Federici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The indentation index, which is the ratio between the real length of a coast and its Euclidean length, is a parameter applied to characterize rock coasts and to study their evolution. Rather than subjectively selecting two or more sectors of a rock coast, the method proposed in this paper considers analyzing the indentation index on the same coastline previously split into several adjacent tracts with equal Euclidean length. By digitizing the coastline in a GIS environment, it becomes possible to test several Euclidean length values on the same coastline, obtaining a different spatial variability of the indentation index with each trial. The best length values that maximize the spatial variability of the indentation index are those that determine an indentation index pattern characterized by high variance and low spatial autocorrelation. The spatial distribution of the indentation index can eventually be analyzed considering known littoral forces acting on the studied coast. When more than one Euclidean length value is found to maximize the variability of indentation index within the same coast, it is likely that there are one or more littoral forces acting or interacting differently at different scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1459-1468
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Coastal Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • Rock coast
  • indentation index
  • littoral forces
  • geostatistics
  • Liguria
  • Italy
  • shore platforms
  • Northwestern Spain
  • Kaikoura Peninsula
  • South Island
  • New-Zealand
  • evolution
  • Pacific
  • erosion
  • Galicia


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