Abstract

More than 40 yr after the discovery of salt giants buried below the Mediterranean deep basin floor, debate on the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC) is still continuing about whether there was a large or only moderate drawdown in base level related to the deposition of deep evaporites during its peak. In this paper, we constrain the magnitude of this sea-level drawdown during the MSC. An analysis of the late Neogene faunas of the Balearic Islands, combined with the available geostructural data, shows that a minimum of 800–1200 m drawdown would be required to allow the colonization of the Balearic Islands by new continental-terrestrial fauna during the MSC peak, which provides solid new evidence in favor of a deep desiccated basin in the Mediterranean during the MSC.

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