Places of Interest nearby
Location address: España, Cádiz
Number of texts: 4
If you stood here 5.4 million years ago facing south, you would have seen the mighty Atlantic on your right (west) but an empty basin to your right. The Med was nowhere to be seen. You would have seen a vast basin, glittering with salt crystals and dappled with lakes of hypersaline water. The basin was 2.7 kilometers below sea level at its lowest point. That’s quite peculiar, knowing that today, the lowest land is the Death Sea basin, a mere 430 metres below sea level. Tectonic movements closed the Strait of Gibraltar. You would have seen the height of the Messinian Salinity Crisis. The cut off Mediterranean Sea was evaporating in this hot and dry climate in about 1000 years. The remains of this can still be seen today at the bottom of many parts in the Mediterranean Sea. There you can still find a thick crust of salt and gypsum.
It must have been quite a sight here during the Zanclean flood. It took place 5.33 million years ago. Tectonic movements and sea level rise of the Atlantic resulted in flooding of the “wall” at the current location of the Strait of Gibraltar, into the almost empty basin of the Mediterranean Sea. In all, 3 million cubic kilometres of Altantic water flooded into the basin. At some moments at a rate of 5000 times the Amazon today.Or every second a billion cubic metres of water. The Mediterranean was rising at about 10 metres a day. All this water left a channel of 250 metres deep and 200 kilometres long that still can be seen on the bed of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Punta de Tarifa (Point Tarifa, Point Marroqui) is the southernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula and continental Europe. It is located in the province of Cádiz and the autonomous community of Andalusia on the Atlantic end of the Straits of Gibraltar. The coast of Morocco can be seen from this point.
Watch this video of the Messinian Salinity Crisis that took place 5.4 million years ago.