The salt giant beneath the deep Mediterranean seafloor is the impressive record of the “Messinian salinity crisis,” a dramatic event that occurred about 6Ma ago following the reduction of the connections with the Atlantic Ocean. According to the shallow-water deep-basin model, developed for these deposits (Hsu¨ and others, 1973a, 1973b, 1978a, 1978b), the Messinian evaporites formed in a deep but desiccated Mediterranean, while shelves and slopes underwent subaerial erosion due to fluvial rejuvenation triggered by a 1500 m sea level drawdown. Deeply incised Messinian canyons in the continental slopes surrounding the Mediterranean are the main argument supporting this scenario. Using a state of the art model and idealized but realistic numerical simulations, here we demonstrate that the activation of downslope flows of hypersaline, dense waters, in a process similar to present-day “dense shelf water cascading,” but much more energetic, may account for both slope erosion and progressive salinity rise leading to the formation of deep-seated supersaturated brines. Our findings support a deep-water deep-basin model (Schmalz, 1969, 1991; De Benedetti, 1976, 1982; Dietz and Woodhouse, 1988), thus implying that evaporite deposition may have occurred in a non-desiccated basin with strongly reduced ocean connections.

Dense shelf water cascading and Messinian canyons: a new scenario for the Mediterranean salinity crisis / Roveri, Marco; Manzi, Vinicio; A., Bergamasco; F. M., Falcieri; Gennari, Rocco; S., Lugli; B. C., Schreiber. - In: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SCIENCE. - ISSN 0002-9599. - 314:(2014), pp. 751-784. [10.2475/05.2014.03]

Dense shelf water cascading and Messinian canyons: a new scenario for the Mediterranean salinity crisis

ROVERI, Marco;MANZI, Vinicio;GENNARI, Rocco;
2014

Abstract

The salt giant beneath the deep Mediterranean seafloor is the impressive record of the “Messinian salinity crisis,” a dramatic event that occurred about 6Ma ago following the reduction of the connections with the Atlantic Ocean. According to the shallow-water deep-basin model, developed for these deposits (Hsu¨ and others, 1973a, 1973b, 1978a, 1978b), the Messinian evaporites formed in a deep but desiccated Mediterranean, while shelves and slopes underwent subaerial erosion due to fluvial rejuvenation triggered by a 1500 m sea level drawdown. Deeply incised Messinian canyons in the continental slopes surrounding the Mediterranean are the main argument supporting this scenario. Using a state of the art model and idealized but realistic numerical simulations, here we demonstrate that the activation of downslope flows of hypersaline, dense waters, in a process similar to present-day “dense shelf water cascading,” but much more energetic, may account for both slope erosion and progressive salinity rise leading to the formation of deep-seated supersaturated brines. Our findings support a deep-water deep-basin model (Schmalz, 1969, 1991; De Benedetti, 1976, 1982; Dietz and Woodhouse, 1988), thus implying that evaporite deposition may have occurred in a non-desiccated basin with strongly reduced ocean connections.
Dense shelf water cascading and Messinian canyons: a new scenario for the Mediterranean salinity crisis / Roveri, Marco; Manzi, Vinicio; A., Bergamasco; F. M., Falcieri; Gennari, Rocco; S., Lugli; B. C., Schreiber. - In: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SCIENCE. - ISSN 0002-9599. - 314:(2014), pp. 751-784. [10.2475/05.2014.03]
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2704501
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 67
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 64
social impact