“A Megaflood-Powered Mile-High Waterfall Refilled the Mediterranean”

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The Story

“A Megaflood-Powered Mile-High Waterfall Refilled the Mediterranean”
by Katherine Kornei
Scientific American, March 26, 2018

The Pitch

Researchers think they’ve found evidence for one of the largest floods to have ever coursed over the Earth’s surface.

Roughly 6 million years ago, the Strait of Gibraltar–the narrow waterway that now connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea–closed because of plate tectonics. Without a replenishing source of water, the Mediterranean partially dried up due to evaporation, its water level dropping by over a kilometer. Now, researchers have analyzed sediments below the Mediterranean seafloor to infer that the waters come rushing back in in a megaflood that spilled over a sill near Sicily. The team hypothesized that the Mediterranean Sea was refilled in about 2 years, an enormous influx of water that rendered this basin what it is today.

This result was published January 18th in Scientific Reports. I have attached a PDF of the manuscript.

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