Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Article
  • Published:

History of the Mediterranean salinity crisis


A history of geodynamic evolution of the Mediterranean leading to the salinity crisis is outlined, based on the ‘desiccated deep-basin model’. An accurate portrayal of the crisis is presented, based on data from new drilling and studies of on-land geology.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Hsü, K. J., Ryan, W. B. F. & Cita, M. B. Nature 242, 240 (1973).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Hsü, K. J. Earth Sci. Rev. 8, 371 (1972).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Sylvester-Bradley, P. C. Geol. Mag. 110, 73 (1973).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Hsü, K. J., Cita, M. B. & Ryan, W. B. F. I.C.R. DSDP (Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC) 13, 1023 (1972).

  5. Nesteroff, W. D. ICR DSDP 13, 673 (1972).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Wezel, F. C. Giornale di Geologia 39, 447 (1974).

    Google Scholar 

  7. Drooger, C. W. in Messinian Events in the Mediterranean (ed. Drooger, C. W.), 263 (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1973).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Argand, E. XIIIe Congr. geol. intern. Bruxelles, CR 171 (1924).

  9. Selli, R. & Fabbri, M. R.C. Accad. Lincei 8, 104 (1971).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Neev, D., Almagor, G., Arad, A., Ginsburg, A. & Hall, J. K. Geol. Surv. Israel, Bull. 68, 1 (1976).

    Google Scholar 

  11. Smith, A. G. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 82, 2039 (1971).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  12. Dewey, J. F., Pittman, W. C., Ryan, W. B. F. & Bonin, J. Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 84, 3137 (1973).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  13. Biju-Duval, B., Dercourt, J. & Le Pichon, X. Recherche 7, 811 (1976).

    Google Scholar 

  14. Hsü, K. J. & Bernoulli, D. ICR DSDP 42 A (in the press).

  15. Wright, R. ICR DSDP 42 A (in the press).

  16. Benson, R. H. ICR DSDP 42 A (in the press).

  17. Bernoulli, D., Garrison, R. E. & McKenzie, J. A. ICR DSDP 42 A (in the press).

  18. Suess, E. Nat. Sci. 2, 180 (1893).

    Google Scholar 

  19. Hallam, T. in Palaeontological Ass. spec. Publ. 12 (ed. Hughes, N. F.) (1973).

    Google Scholar 

  20. Adams, C. G. in Atlas of Paleobiogeography (ed. Hallam, A.) 453 (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1973).

    Google Scholar 

  21. Savage, R. J. G. Systematics Ass. Publ. 7, 247 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  22. Rögl, F., Steiniger, F. & Müller, C. ICR DSDP 42 A (in the press).

  23. Gignoux, M. Geologie Stratigraphique, 4th edn (Masson & Cie, Paris, 1950).

    Google Scholar 

  24. Cita, M. B., Wright, R., Ryan, W. B. F., & Longinelli, A. ICR DSDP 42 A (in the press).

  25. Benda, L. in Messinian Events in the Mediterranean (ed. Drooger, C. W.), 256 (North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1973).

    Google Scholar 

  26. Montadert, L. C., Letouzey, J. & Mauffret, A. ICR DSDP 42 A (in the press).

  27. Decima, A. & Wezel, F. C. ICR DSDP 13, 1234 (1972).

    Google Scholar 

  28. Decima, A. Proc. Messinian Seminar, Erice, Sicily (1975).

  29. Schreiber, B. C., Friedman, G. M., Decima, A. & Schreiber, E. Sedimentology 23 (1976).

  30. Garrison, R. E. et al. ICR DSDP 42 A (in the press).

  31. McKenzie, J. A. & Ricchiuto, T. E. ICR DSDP 42 A (in the press).

  32. Stankovic, S. The Balkan Lake Ohrid and its Living World Mongraphiae Biologicae 9 (W. Junk, The Hague, 1960).

    Google Scholar 

  33. Jiricek, R. VIth Congr. Med Neogene Stratigraphy, Bratislava, 33 (1975).

  34. Hsü, K. J. ICR DSDP 42 B (in the press).

  35. Hsü, K. J., Stoffers, P. & Ross, D. A. Abstr. 25th Int. Geol. Congr. Sydney, 894 (1976).

  36. Morelli, C. Bull, de l'étude en commun de la Méditerranée 7, 29 (1975).

    Google Scholar 

  37. Ryan, W. B. F. Sedimentology 23, 791 (1977).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  38. Finckh, P. Messinian Seminar 2 (Gargnano, Italy, 1976).

    Google Scholar 

  39. Hayes, D. E. et al. ICR DSDP 28 (1975).

  40. Van Hinte, J. ICR DSDP 38 (1976).

  41. Hsü, K. J. Naturwissenschaften 61, 137 (1974).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  42. Azzaroli, A. & Guazzoni, G. Messinian Seminar 2, 60 (1976).

    Google Scholar 

  43. Sarich, V. M. & Wilson, A. C. Science 158, 1200 (1967).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  44. Goodman, M. et al. Aeromedical Res. Lab. ARL-TR-69-10 (Holloman A. F. B., 1969).

  45. Ardrey, R. The Hunting Hypothesis 47 (Collins, London, 1976).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hsü, K., Montadert, L., Bernoulli, D. et al. History of the Mediterranean salinity crisis. Nature 267, 399–403 (1977).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing