Average fractal dimensions (D) are calculated for Maine's four coastal compartments using a GIS approach and digitized U.S. Geological Survey 7.5-minute series topographic quadrangle maps. The D values indicate relatively little complexity for the southwest coastal compartment (avg. D = 1.11), higher complexity for the south-central compartment (avg. D = 1.35), and intermediate complexity for the north-central compartment (avg. D = 1.23). Our analysis suggests that the northeastern compartment should be further divided into two subcompartments (Cobscook Bay and non-Cobscook Bay), which have average D values of 1.37 and 1.18 respectively. Subdivision of the northeast coastal compartment is also supported by the geologic makeup of the region. Statistical tests show that all of the geologically different coastal compartments can be discriminated in terms of D at the 95% confidence level, whereas the geologically similar compartments (south-central compartment and Cobscook Bay subcompartment) cannot be statistically distinguished. Further research along previously glaciated shorelines should be carried out to build upon our results.
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