The Messinian salinity crisis and evidence of late Miocene eustatic changes in the world ocean

Abstract

The Mediterranean Sea became isolated from the world ocean in the late Miocene and underwent a ‘crisis of salinity’ during which vast deposits of evaporites were laid down in pre-existing depressions. The final connection with the Atlantic is believed now to have been the Betic Strait entering into the Mediterranean from Andalusia, Spain. Although the closing of this connection, known as the Iberian Portal, is related to largescale plate movements which brought Africa into direct contact with southern Europe, its final severing may have resulted from glacial-eustatic lowering of the global ocean. Further stratigraphic resolution of late Miocene sea-level and ice-volume changes is sought to verify the eustatic-fall hypothesis.

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Adams, C., Benson, R., Kidd, R. et al. The Messinian salinity crisis and evidence of late Miocene eustatic changes in the world ocean. Nature 269, 383–386 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1038/269383a0

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