Sapropel formation in the Eastern Mediterranean is explained by an oceanographic approach. It is suggested that sapropels are not only a consequence of eustatic sea-level changes as earlier proposed by Olausson, a model which is widely accepted, but rather a result of a very sensitive reaction of the Eastern Mediterranean to any small climatic amelioration. Present-day aeration of the deep Eastern Mediterranean basin results from circulation of oxygen-rich deep water originating mainly in the Adriatic. Assuming present-day conditions, a climatic amelioration towards more humid and warmer conditions leading to an increase of the water temperature in the Adriatic Basin by 0.7°C or to a decrease of its salinity by only 0.2‰ will cause stratification of water masses and enhance sapropel formation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology