33,000-foot-wide (10 kilometers) underwater canyon discovered near seamount deep in the Mediterranean Sea


Researchers have discovered a 33,000-foot-wide (10 kilometers) underwater canyon that was carved out of the Mediterranean seabed shortly before the sea dried up around 6 million years ago.

A newly discovered underwater canyon was carved out of the seabed by extremely salty currents.
A newly discovered underwater canyon was carved out of the seabed by extremely salty currents. Jason Edwards

Scientists have discovered a giant underwater canyon in the eastern Mediterranean Sea that likely formed just before the sea transformed to a mile-high salt field.

The canyon formed around 6 million years ago, at the onset of the Messinian salinity crisis (MSC), when the Gibraltar gateway between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea narrowed and eventually pinched shut due to shifts in tectonic plates. The Mediterranean Sea became isolated from the world’s oceans and dried up for roughly 700,000 years, leaving behind a vast expanse of salt up to 2 miles (3 kilometers) thick in some places.

As sea levels dropped, increasingly salty currents eroded the seabed and incised gullies several hundred feet deep along the steepest edges of the Mediterranean Sea. In a study published in the January issue of the journal Global and Planetary Change, researchers now describe a giant U-shaped canyon located 75 miles (120 km) south of Cyprus, in the depths of the Mediterranean’s Levant Basin.

The 1,640-foot-deep (500 meters) and 33,000-foot-wide (10 km) canyon, which the researchers named after the nearby Eratosthenes seamount, likely formed underwater shortly before salt piled onto the seabed. Unlike the more coastal gullies, the canyon had no older “pre-salt” roots, according to the study.

“To explain the submarine formation of the Eratosthenes Canyon, we suggest incision by dense gravity currents scratching and carving the deep-water seafloor,” the researchers wrote in the study.

The newly discovered Eratosthenes Canyon sits close to the Eratosthenes seamount in the eastern Mediterranean sea.
The newly discovered Eratosthenes Canyon sits close to the Eratosthenes seamount in the eastern Mediterranean sea. Geological Survey of Israel

Weighed down with salt and sediment, these currents rushed along faster than the surrounding water and gradually scooped out enough of the seabed to form the colossal canyon. Precisely when this occurred remains unclear, but it likely coincided with the beginning of the MSC — between 5.6 million and 6 million years ago, according to the study. The incision process may have lasted anywhere from tens of thousands to half a million years.

The discovery sheds light on a decades-long debate over whether Messinian gullies and canyons that now lie underwater formed above or below the sea surface. “This new evidence strengthens the arguments that at least part of the erosion across continental margins occurred [below water],” the researchers wrote.

The newly discovered canyon sits within a wider network of canyons and channels in an area known as the Levant Basin, which extends from the coast of Syria in the north to Gaza in the south, and northwest toward Cyprus.

To the northwest of the canyon, beyond the Eratosthenes seamount, sits the much deeper and older Herodotus basin, which receives currents loaded with sediment from the southeast. These currents may have crossed the area that now boasts the Eratosthenes Canyon long before it was incised, according to the study.

“The absence of older roots under the Eratosthenes Canyon does not rule out the possibility that a shallow pre-MSC channel system predated the Eratosthenes Canyon,” the researchers wrote. [Elsevier]

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1 Comment

  1. Submarine canyons are ubiquitous all over the coastlines of the world existing in the continental shelves of all continents. I researched them while writing my first book “Evolution: Fact or Fallacy” by Jeremiah C Maddox (pseudonym) and the more I learned about them, the more mysterious they became, completely unable to be explained by modern, uniformitarian, billions-of-years-old-earth “scientific” theories. They can, however be very logically and completely explained by a global flood as described in the Bible.

    The waters that flooded the earth came not only from the sky (there existed a “canopy” of water, probably ice, surrounding the earth before the flood; search frozen Bison and imagine a massive ice canopy falling to the earth in great chunks as big as countries!) but most of the water came from UNDER the earth as “the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Genesis 7:11

    There were no high mountains on the earth before the flood, the weight of the waters upon the face of the earth “pushed up’ the mountains in a very short time…weeks, as opposed to modern geologic scientists claims of a very slow rising of the mountains over millions of years. It is proposed that when those waters gushed to the surface they left massive, empty caverns under the ground which subsequently collapsed under the immense weight of the waters and these became the oceans and seas, also exposing the continents and pushing up the land masses inland of the coastlines into mountains. (notice how mountain ranges follow the general coastline in most cases) That’s why we find hundreds of miles of shellfish remains on the mountain tops of the Himalayas’ and other great mountain ranges!

    As the waters receded into these collapsed land masses, they rushed down off of the solid continents creating these great underwater canyons all over the continental shelves of the world. Many of these canyons dwarf the Grand Canyon in size, length and depth. The Great Bahama Canyon is more than 2.5 miles high and more than 23 miles wide at its widest point. I recommend the book by John C. Whitcomb, Henry M. Morris called The Genesis Flood which will give you a basis for understanding the TRUTH of what actually happened on this earth about 4400 years ago. I also recommend the book “The Hydroplate Theory” by Walt Brown, PhD for anyone who wants to go deep, pun intended! It’s available to read online for free.

    I don’t concur with everything that either of these books portrays but I do follow the general outline of both. For example, the canopy of water vapor or ice is contested by many young earth scientists in this age but I do believe the ice canopy theory because it would explain the existence of frozen herds of Buffalo, so quickly frozen that the plant matter in the contents of their stomachs could still be identified! Something had to have caused this INSTANT freezing.

    I have a theory of my own regarding this; when the ice canopy collapsed, it pulled the atmosphere down with it (some of the animals were found to have suffocated before being frozen) and allowed for the near absolute zero temperatures of outer space to occupy the land in many places throughout the earth for a short period of time – at least long enough to freeze these animals. Many other animals have been found in this state for example, schools of fish have been found frozen in the swimming position, locked in time by instant freezing. Also, clams, mussels and oysters have been found completely preserved in their closed shells. When shellfish die, they open and decay away slowly but many shellfish found were closed, meaning the freezing happened before they could die and open up. Nothing but an instant freezing could achieve this. Some buffalo found in Siberia were so well preserved that they had been partially eaten by wolves and other wildlife!

    There’s a world of truth out there for any who care enough to look which has been absolutely covered up by lies in this age, lies that exist to keep a religion alive (Darwinism). It’s propagators have successfully replaced our Omniscient, Omnipotent God with NOTHING but time and chance, the biggest insult to the Great God of Creation that could possibly be imagined. Other religions of the world do, at the very least, recognize that our reality could not possibly have come into existence by chance and nothing but they give the credit to a god or sometimes several gods, albeit the wrong gods. In this age, the people mostly believe that the very first line of God’s written word says, “in the beginning, NOTHING”. This keeps the people in ignorance about the truth of their origins and the origin of the universe itself which modern science claims came into existence by NOTHING.

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