When the land bridge connecting Europe and Africa at the Straits of Gibraltar finally gave way it would have created a wave of unimaginable proportions.
Our feature also tells how the Mediterranean mysteriously dried out at least five or six times
The Mediterranean Sea is the subject of one of the greatest mysteries on Earth. Geologists have proved that over the course of time the Mediterranean has frequently come to the point of drying up completely.
Evidence for this can be found in the vast layers of salt deposits discovered lying beneath the bed of this enigmatic sea. The very dense and numerous evaporite layers sandwiched between marine sediments laid down in deep water prove that since deepest antiquity the Mediterranean must have dried up at least five or six times.
At the height of this desiccation the Mediterranean basin would have resembled a particularly arid desert, leaving only tiny lakes and rivers running down from bordering mountain ranges. However these sterile conditions would certainly not have applied to the entire Mediterranean Basin. Indeed there is no reason why localities close to main rivers and fresh water lakes could not have developed comparatively fertile conditions. This would have provided ideal conditions for life to flourish and it is highly probable that the Mediterranean Basin once held a particularly rich variety of flora and fauna.
Idyllic Nile Delta
In the vicinity of the Nile Delta there is likely to have been a resplendent wealth of life situated around lush valleys and river branches providing a thriving and endurable eco system lasting for perhaps thousands of years. Yet any life that found any kind of foothold here was ultimately doomed to disaster. The geology of the Mediterranean meant that every so often the entire basin would dramatically fill up with sea water extinguishing all life to be found there.
Experts have discovered that over the course of millions of years the cycle of a dried up and fertile Mediterranean giving way to the waters of a flooding sea occurred at least five or six times and possibly more. In other words this was a recurring source of catastrophe with a long periodicity that operated over the course of millions of years.
Rising sea levels.
But what exactly was it that caused the flooding of the Mediterranean and its subsequent drying out ? One of the most frequently advanced explanations is a rising and falling in the level of the worlds oceans. The Mediterranean is almost entirely land locked and fed only by water pouring through the relatively narrow Straits of Gibraltar. Here at the very mouth of the Mediterranean ( see pic below )the waters are comparatively shallow, forming a narrow sill between Africa and Europe. Many actually believe this was the point of an ancient land bridge spanning the two continents.
It is also believed that on numerous occasions world ocean levels rose to a level that they poured over the sill of the Straits of Gibraltar …