The Mediterranean Landscape

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Before one can talk about the Mediterranean landscape, one should ask themselves: what is a landscape? In an English Oxford dictionary, one can see that the definition of landscape is ‘all the visible features of an area of land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal.’ There is more to the landscape than just land and features; it is the place where existing political and cultural differences or similarities manifest themselves into creating a mixture of places, which is seen as a landscape (Olwig, 2007). Currently there are seven different types of landscapes: mountain, coastal, riverine, desert, karst, tropical rainforest and built. A built landscape is the only one that is not a natural landscape and provide evidence of human…show more content…
The north, south, east and western parts of the Mediterranean differentiate between precipitation, temperature and weather patterns (Bottenberg, Schanus, Kluss and Kuball, n.d.). All four parts experience a summer drought which has lead to vegetation such as olive trees, small shrubs and hardy grass adapting to it by having waxy leaves, thick bark, growth of hair or smaller leaves. Prior to the summer drought, rain has supported the growth of plant life such as dense shrubs and trees; these same plants create dead fuel during the summer drought. The build-up of this dead fuel can contribute in createing wildfires during the summer or early autumn (Dallman, 1998). Due to maritime influence at the coast, the average temperature of the coldest winters would still be above the freezing point allowing for plants such as the evergreen trees and shrubs to thrive and create a lush winter landscape (Dallman, 1998). According to Dokulil et al. (2009) and Bottenberg et al. (n.d.), the Alps form a sharp climactic divide between continental Europe and the Mediterranean as they act as a barrier for the mass movement of air, without the Alps, areas like northern Italy and parts of the Balkans would have similar climates to Germany. If it weren’t for the protection of the Atlas mountains from…show more content…
Weathering can occur in both physical and chemical processes, exfoliation is an example of physical weathering; this is when rock heats up and expands during the day and cools and contracts during the much cooler night. As this process continues, the rock starts to break from the inside and peels off. This process takes places in areas where there is high diurnal temperature variation such as the Sahara desert and parts of the Mediterranean close to it. Plants and burrowing animals also contribute to weather rock, this is know as biological weathering; this is when the plant roots forced cracks in the rock to widen and eventually break into pieces or when animals expose the rock to further weathering (Waugh, 2009; A. Vella, personal communication, March 5, 2017). Plate tectonics have also played a part in the evolution of the Mediterranean. As the African and Eurasian plates converge, it can create several types of landforms. Volcanic islands like Santorini are created when the oceanic crust is subducted beneath the continental; the friction caused by the subduction zone created a magma chamber that later spews of the crust and creates a volcano. Deep-sea trenches are formed through this process as well; as the oceanic crust is subducted beneath the continental, it is subducted at an angle and thus creating a v-shaped depression on the ocean floor. An example of a

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