By their origin, the manner of formation, the geological structure and th kinds of soil, the relief of the Kornat islands is not essentially different from the other Adriatic islands, particulary the neighbouring ones. However, it is only here that we come upon a type of littoral which does not exist in any other part of the Adriatic. It is the steeply cut coast facing the open sea. This exceptional configuration is referred to as kruna (crown) in the local idiom of the islanders, and as klif (cliff) or strmac (steep, sheer) among scholars and in the media. The crowns were created by a tectonic fault when parts that were exposed to the open sea broke off and disappeared under the sea. Subsequent erosion caused by the wind and the sea currents formed a series of cliffs that protect the archipelago from the open sea.
The crowns start with the island of Pulara in the south-east, and continue on the islands and under the sea on the islands of Kasela, Kolobučar, Lavsa, Veliki Škanj, Mali Škanj, Velika Panitula, Mala Panitula, Piškera, Veliki Rašip, Mali Rašip, Mana, Borovnik, Balun, Mrtvač, Veliki Obručan, Mali Obručan, and it ends on the south west side of the island of Dugi otok at the point Lopata. The inhabitants of Dugi otok refer to this configuration as stene (rocks).
The length of all "crowns" in the Kornat part of the archipelago is seven kilometres; the "rocks" on Dugi otok are approximately as long.
The Kornat shoreline is about 307 km long. There are many shallows, points and coves on such a long shoreline. Garme attract especial attention. These are deeply cut coves, eroded by the action of the sea. For some larger ones it can be presumed that they were handy stone quarries (petrale), and the others were excellent shelters for fishermen, boats, and sheep. Some islands are named after some of them (e.g. Garmenjak). The word is neither of Greek or Romance origin, and it can be supposed that it comes from the language of the first settlers.
Because of their peculiar structure, appearance, and inaccessibility to man the "crowns" are suitable habitat to many species of birds, especially great crested grebes (ronci, Pediceps cristatuts), wild pigeons (Columbia livia) and caparani (Cypselus maritimus). Rare endemics species of plants, adapted to the life in especially difficult conditions, can be met on their sheer faces. Their steeply cut underwater world used to be the best-known grounds of spiny lobster (Palinurus vulgaris), lobster (Homarus vulgaris) and many fish species of high quality.
The Kornati "crowns" are not interesting only because of their beauty, but also because of the particular life forms that inhabit them. On the part of the "crowns" that rises above the sea level there live special and rare types of organisms adjusted to extreme life conditions such as strong blasts of the sea and wind, high concentration of salt, washouts, lack of soil and water, and strong sun. On the other hand, the submerged part of the "crowns" is biologically very diverse and rich with organisms that have adjusted to life conditions on this underwater wall.
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