Deep Roots of the Messinian Salinity Crisis

Duggen, Svend, Hoernle, Kaj, van den Bogaard, Paul, Rüpke, Lars and Morgan, Jason Phipps (2003) Deep Roots of the Messinian Salinity Crisis Nature, 422 . pp. 602-606. DOI 10.1038/nature01553.

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The Messinian salinity crisis—the desiccation of the Mediterranean Sea between 5.96 and 5.33 million years (Myr) ago1—was one of the most dramatic events on Earth during the Cenozoic era2. It resulted from the closure of marine gateways between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the causes of which remain enigmatic. Here we use the age and composition of volcanic rocks to reconstruct the geodynamic evolution of the westernmost Mediterranean from the Middle Miocene epoch to the Pleistocene epoch (about 12.1–0.65 Myr ago). Our data show that a marked shift in the geochemistry of mantle-derived volcanic rocks, reflecting a change from subduction-related to intraplate-type volcanism, occurred between 6.3 and 4.8 Myr ago, largely synchronous with the Messinian salinity crisis. Using a thermomechanical model, we show that westward roll back of subducted Tethys oceanic lithosphere and associated asthenospheric upwelling provides a plausible mechanism for producing the shift in magma chemistry and the necessary uplift (approx1 km) along the African and Iberian continental margins to close the Miocene marine gateways, thereby causing the Messinian salinity crisis.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Messinian salinity crisis, Mediterranean Sea
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 574 > C5
OceanRep > SFB 574 > C2
OceanRep > SFB 574
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Kiel University
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1038/nature01553
ISSN: 0028-0836
Projects: SFB574
Contribution Number:
SFB 57426
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2010 11:48
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2018 09:06

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