Boreal Submerged Black Sea Landscapes

  • Gilles Lericolais


In 1999 William B. F. Ryan and Walter C. 3rd Pitman suggest in their book: “Noahs Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries about the Event that Changed History”, that the Black Sea, once a much smaller land-locked freshwater lake, was deluged about 7,500 years ago with salty water destroying the fertile plains around the once-shallow freshwater lake. For them, this would have happened when sea levels rose beyond a Bosporus critical point letting the Mediterranean Sea overflowed into the Black Sea basin. In this, Ryan and Pitman proposed that such a catastrophic event is likely to have remained in the collective memory leading to the creation of the story of Noah and the great flood. Since then, a vigorous debate arose between researchers in this region and the scientific community. As this debate concerns more the question of flood myths that are common in many early cultures, most of concerned researchers get to a point where they can’t see the wood for the trees meaning they did not consider the scientific results obtained from observations collected by a series of expeditions and showing that outside the cultural concerns, the Black Sea encountered a late major sea level rise during the Holocene. Here a synthesis on the assessment of the last sea-level rise in the Black Sea is presented. Numerous underwater surveys had collected data which interpretations evidence recent submerged landscapes somewhere around—100 m depth on the western Black Sea shelf consistent with a major low stand level witnessing that the Black Sea shelf was emerged at the beginning of the Holocene. Such important collections of data bring highlights to the debate regarding the precise timing and amplitude of the reconnection between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea about 9,000 years ago.


Holocene Rapid sea-level rise Bosporus Underwater surveys Flood 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Direction of European and International Affairs of IFREMERIFREMERIssy-les-Moulineaux CedexFrance

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