A natural disaster. The incredible origin story of the Mediterranean Sea

mediterranean sea

The Mediterranean Sea has long been a place of wonderful views and miraculous sites. It has not always been this way. How come the Mediterranean is the only Sea that is barely connected to the other sea? What are the salt piles doing on the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea? Is it true that the Mediterranean once almost dried up?

The Atlantic Ocean is keeping the Mediterranean Sea filled with water.

Through the narrow Strait of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean Sea is kept filled up with water. Luckily so! Without the connection to the Atlantic, thanks to this cysmic shift, the Mediterranean as we know it today would not have existed. There would have been no way for boats to reach Mediterranean harbours and help the economic development of these areas. The mix and infusion of cultures, which is so loved about the Mediterranean, would not have existed. It would have been a great lake, or a dried up lake…

The Mediterranean Sea once almost dried up

Though not airtight, scientists do believe that many million years ago, tectonic shifts forced the landscape upward, which crimped the connection between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The water still flowed, but the shift in landscape made it harder for the saline (salt) to escape the Mediterranean and reach the ocean.
Some researchers suggest the Sea nearly dried up and that all that stood between the basin and the Atlantic may have been a small spit of land in a location known today as the Gibraltar Strait.

The Mediterranean flood

Around 5.3 million years ago, a big flood breached the divide and reconnected the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Unfortunately, little evidence is available abou the size of the flood. They think it started as a little trickle over the natural dam ; known as the Strait of Gibraltar inbetween Spain and Marocco. The water made the dam erode and soon more water passed. Scientists see the possibility that this flow can have gushed at 100 million cubic meters per second, which would allow the Sea to fill back up in 2 years or even less.

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National Geographic source
Earthdate source
Scientific American source

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