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Abstract

Extreme rainfall causing floods and great damage occurred in many areas of central-east Sardinia in the period 6–11 December 2004. A total of approximately 700 mm of rain was measured during this extreme event, with a maximum reaching 510 mm of rainfall in 1 day at the rain gauge of Villagrande (Ogliastra). During and immediately after the event all fluviokarstic canyons were activated for at least 1 week, reaching the highest water levels in at least 50 years and reversing great quantities of sediment-loaded water onto the coast and with important geomorphical modifications. There was public fear that serious damage to the natural resources would occur, such as the famous Cala Luna beach that was almost completely destroyed by the flooding of the Codula Ilune River and by the coinciding sea storm. The river, in fact, eroded the longshore bar (beach) and destroyed the small backshore lagoon. A monitoring study has been initiated in order to analyse the natural evolution of this littoral system and to define the resilience of this interesting geomorphosite. The observations have shown that the flood, albeit impacting negatively in the moments immediately after the disaster, almost completely restored the natural equilibrium of this coastal karst geo-ecosystem within a season.

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