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Fondali di Capo Vaticano

The site is characterized by a rocky cliff that represents the most eastern part of Capo Vaticano Promontory. The rapid tectonic uplift of the area – mainly during the Quaternary -, the erosive force of the waves and the high resistance of the granitic rocks are the main controlling factors of the seafloor morphology and the coast. The site features a coastline with two granitic rocky promontories reaching a height of about 80 meters above sea level, which are separated by a small beach. The seabed has a highly irregular morphology with rocky outcrops and spurs that reach the sea surface. These are often boulders fallen from the cliff during exceptional events such as storms or earthquakes; they can also be remnants of an ancient, now submerged, coastline made up of more resistant rocks. The seabeds off this promontory host important Posidonia oceanica areas and they are subject to intense coastal processes (currents and waves). A large meadow on matte and sand extends in the northern area of Capo Vaticano, in front of Formicoli Beach, down to a depth of 25 meters; beyond the cape, the seagrass has a sporadic distribution: indeed, there are patches of Posidonia meadows on matte and sand or patches and clumps of Posidonia, while near the coast, the seagrass is mixed with rocky outcrops. The seagrass appears to be at normal density and in balance with the environmental characteristics of the area: basing on observed growth values, it is in excellent vitality.