New underwater canyon found by Israeli scientists near Cyprus


A never before known about underwater canyon near Cyprus was uncovered by The Geological Institute of Israel. The canyon, known as Eratosthenes for the underwater mountain it is near, dates back to the Messinian Event that transpired about 5.5 million years ago.

The canyon is about 10 km wide and 500 m deep and was buried at the beginning of the Messinian period before the deposition of the salt layer.

It was created when the level of the Mediterranean Sea decreased at the same time there was a rise in the salinity of the water, which apparently created gravity currents or dense solutions that caused the destabilization of the submarine slopes and subsidence of the seabed.

The Institute said that in a broader aspect this work reveals the environmental conditions of high salinity and lower sea level in the deep Mediterranean basin at the beginning of the Messinian event.

Also known as the Messinian salinity crisis, the Messinian event was a geological event during which the Mediterranean Sea went into a cycle of partial or nearly complete desiccation.

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