Geologists from the Jaume Almera Institute of Earth Sciences (ICTJA-CSIC) in Barcelona have found in the background Alboran Sea possible new evidence of the Mediterranean mega-foundation 5.3 million years ago.
Scientists have identified an accumulation of sediments 163 meters thick, 35 kilometers long and 7 of amplitude, which could have originated during a great flood that put an end to the Messinian Saline Crisis.
According to researchers, who have published their work in the magazine ‘Earth-Science Reviews’, the sediments were transported by an enormous flow of water and were deposited in the shelter of an old submarine volcano, and defend that they are new evidence of the great flood that occurred 5.3 million years ago. filled the basin of a partially dried out Mediterranean Sea.
These sediments are now candidates to join the list of evidence found in recent years of the so-called megasoundation of Zancliense that, according to the hypothesis, ended the Messinian Salinity Crisis about 6 million years ago during which the Mediterranean Sea left isolated from the Atlantic Ocean and it became a gigantic saline.
“The sediments identified are compatible with a large flood across the Strait of Gibraltar and accumulated in the lee of the flood due to the protection of the volcano against the force of the water flow that, coming from the Atlantic, entered the Mediterranean basin,” he said. Detailed Daniel García-Castellanos, ICTJA-CSIC researcher and first author of the article.
The identification of this set of materials has been possible thanks to images obtained by seismic waves at the bottom of the Alboran Sea, with which they detected “chaotic and discontinuous” strata between the myocentric and pliocene sedimentary layers and arranged in parallel to an erosive canal identified in 2009 at the bottom of the sea.
A 390 kilometer channel
This channel, about 390 kilometers long, goes from the Gulf of Cádiz to the Algeria Basin, passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, and would have been excavated by the massive entry of water from the Atlantic when the connection to the Mediterranean through the Strait was restored about 5 million years ago.
Upon entering the Alborán basin, the canal was divided in two to save the topographic accidents that were in its path and one of these obstacles would have been this volcano around which the sediments identified now accumulated.
These sediments add to the rest of the evidence found and published in recent years that support the hypothesis that there would be a flood of large proportions.
The underwater canyon of Noto, in Malta, and a body of sediments about 800 meters thick located east of this canyon are two other tests in favor of the flood hypothesis defended by geologists.
Despite the evidence, García-Castellanos is cautious: “Ten years after publishing the first observations that pointed to the flood of Zancliense, we continue to find evidence that supports it, but they are not conclusive.”
“Before convincing the scientific community, it will be necessary to have outside studies that reconsider the hypothesis from different angles,” acknowledged the author of the paper, in which researchers from the University of Malta, from the Helmholzt Center for Ocean Research ( GEOMAR), of the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC), of the Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia and di Geofísica Sperimentale (OGS) and of the University of Seville. EFE