Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 31, Issue 5–6, pp 361–376 | Cite as

Impact of pulsed Atlantic water inflow into the Alboran Basin at the time of the Zanclean flooding

  • Ferran Estrada
  • Gemma Ercilla
  • Christian Gorini
  • Belén Alonso
  • Juan Tomás Vázquez
  • Daniel García-Castellanos
  • Carmen Juan
  • Andrés Maldonado
  • Abdellah Ammar
  • Mohammed Elabbassi


The study of more than 500 single- and multichannel seismic records enabled the generation of a detailed palaeo-bathymetric map of the Messinian surface over most of the Alboran Basin, Western Mediterranean. This regional surface is characterized by several erosional features (channels, terraces and canyons) and topographic highs (structural, volcanic and diapiric in origin). The most prominent feature is the incised Zanclean Channel crossing the entire basin, its entrenchment having been associated with the opening of the Strait of Gibraltar and subsequent inflow of Atlantic waters. The incision depth of the channel is variable, suggesting local variations in the erosive capacity of the Atlantic inflow, conditioned mainly by the regional basin topography and the local presence of topographic highs. Adjacent to this channel along the Spanish and Moroccan margins, and near the Strait of Gibraltar, several submarine terraces developed at different depths suggest a pulsed flooding of the Alboran Basin. There could have been two major inflow phases of Atlantic water, one shortly before and another during the Zanclean flooding, the latter accompanied by periods of relative sea-level stillstands that enabled terrace development. Alternatively, these features were all generated during the main flooding evident and subsequent pulsed infilling of the basin.


Atlantic Water Messinian Miocene Deposit Messinian Salinity Crisis Eastern Mediterranean Basin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Funding for this research was provided by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation within the framework of the projects TOPOMED (ESF-CGL2008-03474-E/BTE), SAGASbis (Ref. CTM2009/07893-E/MAR), CONTOURIBER (CTM2008-06399-C04-04/MAR) and MONTERA (Ref. CTM-14157-C02-02/MAR). The ‘‘Grupo de Márgenes Continentales’’ (GMC) also thanks the Generalitat de Catalunya for providing economic support in the framework of SGR-2009 (Exp. 00707). Constructive comments by F. Bache, an anonymous referee and the editors are acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ferran Estrada
    • 1
  • Gemma Ercilla
    • 1
  • Christian Gorini
    • 2
  • Belén Alonso
    • 1
  • Juan Tomás Vázquez
    • 3
  • Daniel García-Castellanos
    • 4
  • Carmen Juan
    • 1
  • Andrés Maldonado
    • 5
  • Abdellah Ammar
    • 6
  • Mohammed Elabbassi
    • 6
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencias del Mar, CSICBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Université Pierre et Marie Curie, ISTEPParis 6France
  3. 3.Instituto Español de OceanografíaFuengirolaSpain
  4. 4.Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra Jaume Almera, CSICBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Instituto Andaluz de Geología Mediterránea, CSICUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  6. 6.Université Mohammed VAgdal RabatMorocco

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