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Mail@liuwenyong.com 在在在在在在 www.liuwenyong.com 在在在在在在在在在在在在在在在,在在在在在在在在在在 The Geologic History of the Mediterranean
In 1970 geologists Kenneth J. Hsu and William B.F. Ryan were collecting research data while aboard the oceanographic research vessel Glomar Challenger. An objective of this particular cruise was to investigate the floor of the Mediterranean and to resolve questions about its geologic history. One question was related to evidence that the invertebrate fauna (animals without spines) of the Mediterranean had changed abruptly about 6 million years ago. Most of the older organisms were nearly wiped out, although a few hardy species su rvived. A few managed to migrate into the Atlantic. Somewhat later, the migrants returned, bringing new species with them. Why did the near extinction and migrations occur?
Another task for the Glomar Challenger’s scientists was to try to determine the origin of the domelike masses buried deep beneath the Mediterranean seafloor. These structures had been detected years earlier by echosounding instruments, but they had never been penetrated in the course of drilling. Were they salt domes such as are common along the United States Gulf Coast, and if so, why should there have been so much solid crystalline salt beneath the floor of the Mediterranean? With question such as these clearly before them, the scientists aboard the Glomar Challenger processed to the Mediterranean to search for the answers. On August 23, 1970, they recovered a sample. The sample consisted of pebbles of gypsum and fragments of volcanic rock. Not a single pebble was found that might have indicated that the pebbles came from the nearby continent. In the days following, samples of solid gypsum were repeatedly brought on deck as drilling operations penetrated the seafloor. Furthermore, the gypsum was found to possess peculiarities of composition and structure that suggested it had formed on desert flats. Sediment above and below the gypsum layer contained tiny marine fossils, indicating openocean conditions. As they drilled into the central and deepest part of the Mediterranean basin, the scientists took solid, shiny, crystalline salt from the core barrel. Interbedded with the salt were thin layers of what appeared to be windblown silt.
The time had come to formulate a hypothesis. The investigators theorized that about 20 million years ago, the Mediterranean was a broad seaway linked to the Atlantic by two narrow straits. Crustal movements closed the straits, and the landlocked Mediterranean began to evaporate. Increasing salinity c...
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- Fall '13