Mediterranean flood filled sea in less than two years

Originally published at: Mediterranean flood filled sea in less than two years | Boing Boing


In light of the epic flooding, a Go Fund Me page has been set up for the inhabitants of the Mediterranean basin. Please update your Facebook profile accordingly #MediterraneanFloodDisaster

the bridge of land that became the straight of Gibraltar



The only place I’ve been anything like that salty – well, nothing like, I guess, not miles thick of salt – is the Devil’s Golf Course in Death Valley. If you’re there at dusk, just after the other tourists all give up on it, it is just the quietest place. After marveling at this for a while I realized nothing can live there. No bugs, no birds, no plants, nothing.

There’s a great scene in Six String Samurai of Buddy pushing his bicycle across this landscape. It is slow going.


We were just reading about the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia in my daughter’s Kiwi Atlas the other day. At least according to their team, it also has a destiny as a future sea. Pretty rad features now though, salt plains, lava lakes, sulfur springs…


The Straight of Gibraltar, possibly?


Whoa! That looks cool… well hot.


In the 80s, author Randall Garrett wrote “The Gandalara Cycle” which took place in the distance past, within the “Mediterranean basin”. I though it was an awesome idea. I wonder how long we’ve known about this?


Huh. No mention yet of xkcd’s Time? The epic comic that contains more frames than all the rest of the xkcds put together and slowly revealed that it was set in a refilling Mediterranean basin? (OK, set in the future, not the past.)

Wikipedia about it: Time (xkcd) - Wikipedia

And, one of the places you can go to view it all: xkcd Time - at your own pace


Herman Sörgel had a fix for that, which surely would not have caused any dire side effects for society or the Earth’s climate:


Some of these layers of salt were two miles thick

I’ve eaten at restaurants like that.


Julian May wrote a 1980’s science fiction saga set in the Pleistocene era, during which this flood coming from Gibraltar is a major plot point (wipes out a big gathering that’s a kind of gladiatorial games/Burning Man event.)


Oops… the Pliocene. It was actually called the “Pliocene Exile Saga”.


Time was a riveting read, back in the day. Obsessing over every pixel change between frames, discussing theories and whatnot… so much fun.

My desktop computer is still named ‘molpy’.


There are still caverns full of vast salt crystals around there. I dimly remember a documentary about them. They’re amazing.


The trick is finding workers for extracting that salt, but there are creative solutions for enterprising businessmen.


The Afar Triangle is a WEIRD place - the Crust there is neither entirely continental crust or oceanic crust as its being stretched and intruded by Mantle material emerging from the head of the Afar Plume which is pushing up the whole of East Africa and eventually drives the rifting of the East Africa Rift Valley all the way down to Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

I’ve always fancied visiting Afar, especially to take a look into Erta Ale and to see its amazing lava lake. Bit off the beaten track though and I’m not sure what the availability of gin and tonic is like below sea level.

To the north of Afar, the Red Sea is a little further along the evolution into an ocean. In the south it is a true riift valley underlain by ocean crust whilst the north it becomes less well defined until it merges with the faults that manage the development of the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee.

There are also enormous salt deposits in the central trough of the Red Sea, presumably created when it intermittently opened and closed during a pause in rifting from the Eocene onwards.

In places, there are 3km thick evaporite layers under the floor of the Red Sea. To give some idea of how much water that would need - evaporating a column of seawater 1km tall produces about 3m of salt!


Red Robin…Yum!

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That is where I went with this. Magical Aliens who died by iron. And the Torques of power. It was that one guy who had all the power that opened up the land bridge flooding the gathering


but there still had to be some water at the bottom of this depression? The nile drains into this and countless other rivers draining the sorrounding highlands.


Not nothing, but not a lot. › articles
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There are probably jackalopes as well.


but there still had to be some water at the bottom of this depression? The nile drains into this and countless other rivers draining the sorrounding highlands.

Instead of “water” at the bottom of the Mediterranean, think “supersaturated solution of salts, carbonates, and runoff,” sort of a soup. As the original seas evaporated, some fresh water would still be coming in, but not enough to offset the evaporation. Most of the nile would evaporate as it wended its way down towards the center, and concentrate down to the mean salt levels by the time it reached the bottom lands, where it would form salt pans along with channels and lakes of saturated salt water. During dry, sunny times it would basically dry out, when it rained upstream the lakebeds and channels would refill.