The place does the water of the Mediterranean Sea come from?
Alcyon, the boat which undertakes an expedition “from the Mediterranean Sea to the Spitzberg”, simply went by way of the Strait of Gibraltar. This can be a good alternative to marvel the place the water of the Mediterranean comes from.
Do you know that, annually, the Mediterranean Sea “looses” almost one meter of water by way of evaporation? The place comes the water which balances this loss from ?
The Mediterranean Sea “looses” its water
The local weather within the Mediterranean space may be very heat and nice, and has very good scorching and dry summers. These are one of the best situations for great summer season holidays on the seaside, but in addition for a excessive price of water evaporation. The Mediterranean Sea looses on this method almost one meter of its water top yearly!
This evaporating water leaves all its salts within the remaining water. That is why you are feeling loads lighter once you swim within the Mediterranean than once you swim within the ocean: the water of the Mediterranean comprises extra salt than the water of the Atlantic (36 to 38 grams per litre within the Mediterranean towards 34.9 within the Atlantic).
The origins of the Mediterranean waters
Properly the Mediterranean shouldn’t be emptying itself, so water should come from someplace to “fill the hole”. The origins of this water are:
- a small amount coming from the rivers and the rain (1200 km3 per yr);
- a really small amount coming from the Black Sea (200 km3 per yr);
- and most of it comes from the Atlantic Ocean, by way of the Strait of Gibraltar (35 000 km3 per yr).
It has been calculated by scientists that the Mediterranean waters want 100 years to resume themselves completely (by way of evaporation and water coming in by way of the Strait of Gibraltar).
The Strait of Gibraltar shouldn’t be very huge (round 14 km on the narrowest level) and fairly shallow (300 m deep). Subsequently, there’s a very robust present going by way of the Strait, coming from the Atlantic into the Mediterranean Sea. This was noticed by the crew of the Alcyon boat, once they started to undergo the Straight, prepared to exit of the Mediterranean:
thirty first of March 2005
Ultimately some good wind! Now let’s go to Gibraltar… that we have been going to have with port facet throughout 5 hours, going ahead with plenty of difficulties towards the present! Lastly, on the final level, going at a too gradual tempo amidst the cargos, we gave in and turned on the Perkins (the motor of the boat)…
When the Mediterranean completely dried up
7 million years in the past, the system that we simply described was already working in a really related method, and the final form of the Mediterranean was almost the identical one as at this time. The Strait of Gibraltar didn’t exist but, however a number of small straits changed it.
The primary Hominids in Africa appeared roughly 6 million years in the past. At the moment, the ancestors of many animals like Felids, Canids or Rodents have been additionally already roaming on the earth’s floor.
It’s round that point that the water coming from the Ocean into the Sea was completely “minimize off” or almost so. This resulted from various factors, amongst which the motion of tectonic plates (for a definition, see one other article on our web site: “What if mountains got here out of the Mediterranean Sea?”)
Little by little, the Mediterranean completely dried up, simply as if we left a full saucepan of salt water to evaporate on the hearth: it will go away solely a skinny crust of salt on the backside.
That is precisely what occurred, and necessary layers of salt piled up on the backside of the Mediterranean. Now and again, some water would succeed to come back by way of and would fill in, for some time, the underside of the basin earlier than evaporating. The Mediterranean had become an enormous salt desert.
This example lasted for almost 700’000 years. That is why, in some locations underneath the underside of the ocean, yow will discover layers of salt that are greater than 1000 meters thick.
A big water fall
Lastly, round 5.3 million years in the past, the Strait of Gibraltar opened due to extra tectonic plates’ actions. Water from the ocean arrived into the Mediterranean basin, creating a huge waterfall, with a stream price a thousand occasions larger than the stream price of the Niagara falls!
And that is how, only some centuries later (which is a extremely brief time on the geological scale), the Mediterranean Sea was usually stuffed once more.