Whether the floor of the western Mediterranean Sea was deep or shallow when evaporites accumulated at the end of Miocene time is a controversial issue. Stratigraphic and structural analysis of two distinct sectors of the Algeéro-Provençal Basin, the Balearic Rise, and the Catalonian margin are pertinent to the discussion. Observations indicate that the basin floor subsided considerably (vertical offset of at least 1,500 m) during Pliocene and Quaternary time. These results, compatible with those of other workers in this region, have led us to conclude that the present configuration of the western Mediterranean basin is a geologically recent phenomenon, and that the sea floor could not have been deep during Messinian salt deposition.

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