Evolution of the Late Miocene Mediterranean–Atlantic gateways and their impact on regional and global environmental change

Flecker, Rachel and Krijgsman, Wout and Capella, Walter and de Castro Martíns, Cesar and Dmitrieva, Evelina and Mayser, Jan Peter and Marzocchi, Alice and Modestou, Sevasti and Ochoa, Diana and Simon, Dirk and Tulbure, Maria and van den Berg, Bas and van der Schee, Marlies and de Lange, Gert and Ellam, Robert and Govers, Rob and Gutjahr, Marcus and Hilgen, Frits and Kouwenhoven, Tanja and Lofi, Johanna and Meijer, Paul and Sierro, Francisco J. and Bachiri, Naima and Barhoun, Nadia and Alami, Abdelwahid Chakor and Chacon, Beatriz and Flores, Jose A. and Gregory, John and Howard, James and Lunt, Dan and Ochoa, Maria and Pancost, Rich and Vincent, Stephen and Yousfi, Mohamed Zakaria (2015) Evolution of the Late Miocene Mediterranean–Atlantic gateways and their impact on regional and global environmental change. Earth-Science Reviews, 150. pp. 365-392. ISSN 0012-8252 DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2015.08.007

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Marine gateways play a critical role in the exchange of water, heat, salt and nutrients between oceans and seas. As a result, changes in gateway geometry can significantly alter both the pattern of global ocean circulation and associated heat transport and climate, as well as having a profound impact on local environmental conditions. Mediterranean–Atlantic marine corridors that pre-date the modern Gibraltar Strait, closed during the Late Miocene and are now exposed on land in northern Morocco and southern Spain. The restriction and closure of these Miocene connections resulted in extreme salinity fluctuations in the Mediterranean, leading to the precipitation of thick evaporites. This event is known as the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC). The evolution and closure of the Mediterranean–Atlantic gateways are a critical control on the MSC, but at present the location, geometry and age of these gateways are still highly controversial, as is the impact of changing Mediterranean outflow on Northern Hemisphere circulation. Here, we present a comprehensive overview of the evolution of the Late Miocene gateways and the nature of Mediterranean–Atlantic exchange as deduced from published studies focussed both on the sediments preserved within the fossil corridors and inferences that can be derived from data in the adjacent basins. We also consider the possible impact of evolving exchange on both the Mediterranean and global climate and highlight the main enduring challenges for reconstructing past Mediterranean–Atlantic exchange.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2015AREP; IA69; CASP;
Subjects: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Journal or Publication Title: Earth-Science Reviews
Volume: 150
Page Range: pp. 365-392
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2015.08.007
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2015 16:34
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2015 15:48
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/3499

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