Evidence of one of the largest floods in Earth’s history in the central Mediterranean


An international team of scientists has uncovered evidence of one of the largest floods in Earth's history in the central Mediterranean seafloor.

The flood, known as the Zanclean flood, is thought to have ended the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC), a period during which the Mediterranean Sea became partially dried up. Due to shrinkage of its connection with the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea was transformed into a giant saline lake that was partially evaporated by the dry climate of the region, six million years ago.

One of the theories proposed to explain the refilling of the Mediterranean Sea at the end of the MSC some 640 000 years later is a catastrophic flood through the Strait of Gibraltar.

By examining the most comprehensive collection of seafloor data from offshore eastern Sicily and the Maltese Islands, an international team of geoscientists has now discovered an extensive buried mass of material that is thought to have been eroded and transported by the Zanclean flood.

This mass covers an area equivalent to that of the island of Crete and is up to 900 m (2 900 feet) thick in places. The passage of the Zanclean flood across the Malta Escarpment – a long submarine limestone cliff – resulted in a 1.5 km (0.9 miles) high waterfall (equivalent to five times the height of the Eiffel Tower).

This water eroded a 5 km (3.1 miles) wide and 20 km (12.4 miles) long canyon on the seafloor that is still preserved underwater offshore the city of Noto (south-east Sicily).

Authors say the discovery is important because it demonstrates that the level of the Mediterranean Sea during the MSC dropped by more than 1 000 m (0.62 miles), and that the end of the MSC coincided with a catastrophic flood that affected the entire Mediterranean Sea.


Evidence of the Zanclean megaflood in the eastern Mediterranean Basin – Aaron Micallef et al. – Nature Scientific Reports – January 18, 2018 – DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-19446-3 – OPEN ACCESS


The Messinian salinity crisis (MSC) – the most abrupt, global-scale environmental change since the end of the Cretaceous – is widely associated with partial desiccation of the Mediterranean Sea. A major open question is the way normal marine conditions were abruptly restored at the end of the MSC. Here we use geological and geophysical data to identify an extensive, buried and chaotic sedimentary body deposited in the western Ionian Basin after the massive Messinian salts and before the Plio-Quaternary open-marine sedimentary sequence.

We show that this body is consistent with the passage of a megaflood from the western to the eastern Mediterranean Sea via a south-eastern Sicilian gateway. Our findings provide evidence for a large amplitude drawdown in the Ionian Basin during the MSC, support the scenario of a Mediterranean-wide catastrophic flood at the end of the MSC, and suggest that the identified sedimentary body is the largest known megaflood deposit on Earth.

Featured image credit: University of Malta


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  1. I have an idea for a novel for not only a dam closing off the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean and lowering the lake level of the Mediterranean *Lake*, but also a way to rid of the water removed so that global sea levels don’t rise in the process of removing water from the Mediterranean. And of course, the water locks needed to allow ships to still cross into the Mediterranean *Lake*.

  2. No need for speculation, wild imaginings, theories, postulations or pontifications … anyone who wants the truth about the Mediterranean, the Alps, the Himalayas or the Andes, the Rockies or the Aleutians, anyone who wants the true timeline for our continents, calderas, oceans, ocean trenches, archipelago islands, geological anomalies, cataclysms, the eruption of Yellowstone and dozens of other supervolcanoes, the formation of the Grand Canyon, the history of Antarctica, etc., can find it all in the historic documents. These documents are written in Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Russian, etc., by thousands of witnesses from all across the world. None of the cataclysms happened – and none of the eoloial anomalies were formed – hundreds of thousands of years ago – none of it is millions of years old and none of it is billions of years old.

    If you enjoy lies, lunacy, fantasy and insanity, continue on with what you’re doing – otherwise, do some actual research and stop fantasizing and stop relying on imbeciles – psychologists have uploaded the IQ’s of geologists and dozens of other fake experts so if bowing down to unintelligent fake science gods who graduated with a C average from low level institutions is what thrills you, go ahead – that’s equivalent to trusting an 11-year-old to tell you the history of the world – and keep in mind that they hundreds and hundreds of historic documents from all across the world while the fake experts have nothing to corroborate their fake billions of years ago and nothing to corroborate their fake millions of years ago – the fake experts make up lies and the idiots of the world believe them.

  3. …or, in truth, the Mediterranean sea is the remnants of an impact from the Moon to the Tethys sea 13kya, at the Younger Dryas boundary, breaking apart the supercontinent of Pangaea, wiping out most all our ancestors work, burying a multitude of cities, distorting the genetics of every living creature, devolution,…

    […it was a dry crater for a time, with some rivers and cities/towns were built, a couple of impacts opened the straits, and along with a comet that had hit the Hudson bay, emptying out lake Agassiz 10.5kya ending the Clovis…]

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