Periodic Freshwater Flooding and Stagnation of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea During the Late Quaternary

Science  21 Jul 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4352, pp. 252-254
DOI: 10.1126/science.201.4352.252


Major negative oxygen isotopic anomalies in planktonic foraminifera are associated with deep-sea anoxic mud layers (sapropels) deposited 9000 and 80,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean. The isotopic depletion in surface-dwelling foraminifera is significantly greater than in mesopelagic foraminifera. This difference in isotopic response suggests that surface-water salinities were drastically reduced during times of sapropel formation, possibly as the result of meltwater runoff from the Fennoscandian ice sheet into the eastern Mediterranean by way of the Black and Aegean seas.