Karst hydrology of the Croatian coast recorded in the works of Alberto Fortis (1741-1803)
Keywords:Alberto Fortis, karst, hydrology, Croatia
Alberto Fortis (1741-1803) was an Italian naturalist who had a wide range of scientific interests from linguistics and ethnology to geology, geography and hydrology. This paper presents an overview of hydrological features that Fortis recorded in two of his works: Saggio d'Osservazzioni sopra l'Isola di Cherso ed Osero (1771) and Viaggio in Dalmazia (1774). These works were a result of several Fortis' travels in the region and were noted in European scientific literature of that time. Fortis revealed to European public the eastern Adriatic coast, a then little-known part of Europe with its wide variety of natural features. Despite the scarce appearance of surface water in karst, numerous interpretations of hydrological features can be found in Fortis’ descriptions of the East Adriatic coast. He often shows a remarkable understanding of karst hydrology even though some of his ideas and explanations are dubious from the present point of view. Although Fortis is not considered a karstologist in the strict sense, his works contain elements of what will eventually become karstology.
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