The Messinian Salinity Crisis

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Interesting Information

  • Some of the salt deposit areas in the Mediterranean were 800 meters (2,400 feet) deep.

  • The basin that was exposed when the Mediterranean dried up was 2-3 miles deep.

  • Deposits from the Mediterranean were found in mountains that were formed in Italy, Libya and Sicily.

  • The spilling of the Atlantic Ocean into the Mediterranean created a waterfall that over 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) high.  It was taller and more powerful than Angel Falls.  In other words, you would not have wanted to stand in the Mediterranean basin when this flood occurred, unless you had a good camera.

  • The air pressure at the bottom of the dried Mediterranean basin was twice the amount it is at the Earth's surface.

  • Rivers, such as the Nile in Africa, had to cut down 2 kilometers to reach the Mediterranean basin's reduced mean water level.

  • The new basin that formed during the Salinity Crisis held a large amount of the Earth's salt. This caused the average salinity of seawater to drop and the freezing point to rise.  This, in turn, may have caused the global mean temperature to decrease.