6-mln-year-old submarine canyon found in E. Mediterranean

  • World
  • Monday, 05 Feb 2024

JERUSALEM, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Israeli geologists have discovered a massive submarine canyon, formed about 6 million years ago, in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Geological Survey of Israel (GSI) said in a statement on Sunday.

The canyon was found in the deep reaches of the Levant Basin near the Eratosthenes Seamount, about 120 km south of Cyprus and 250 km northwest of Israel's western seashore.

According to the GSI, a branch of the Israeli Energy Ministry, the canyon is 10 km wide and 0.5 km deep, originating underwater during the Messinian geologic timescale.

The GSI said it was formed at the beginning of the Messinian Salinity Crisis, adding its formation involved dense gravity currents actively scouring and carving the seafloor at significant depths.

It noted that the research has shed light on the environmental conditions characterized by heightened salinity in the deeper Mediterranean basins before the peak of the salinity crisis.

During the Messinian Salinity Crisis, an extraordinary geological event that took place around 5.6 million years ago, the Mediterranean dried up and became disconnected from the world's oceans, also leaving a kilometers-deep layer of salt due to seawater evaporation.

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