Sprovieri, M., Sacchi, M. and Rohling, E.J.
Climatically influenced interactions between the Mediterranean and the Paratethys during the Tortonian
Paleoceanography, 18, (2), . (doi:10.1029/2001PA000750).
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The Paratethys was a separate branch of the Tethys Ocean that developed as a series of inland seaways, brackish lakes, and wetlands the interiors of central-eastern Europe and western Asia during the Oligocene-Neogene. A short-lived connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Paratethys continental realm toward the very end of the Messinian salinity crisis is documented on the basis of the Paratethyan affinity of the brackish shallow water faunas in several Mediterranean localities. Nevertheless, there are at present only a few comparative studies on stratigraphy paleobiogeography and paleoceanography of these two contiguous Neogene provinces [e.g., Benson, 2000]. In this study we compare and integrate different stratigraphic data sets from middle-upper Miocene sequences of the central Mediterranean and the western Pannonian basins (central Paratethys) that are seen as parts of a complex paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic system. On the basis of this comparison we propose that the Paratethys had a long-lived influence on the large-scale oceanographic circulation of the eastern Mediterranean, at least since the Tortonian (between 9.7 and 7.5 Ma); that is, well before the onset of the Messinian Lagomare event (~5.5 Ma). The integrated stratigraphy of coeval marine (Tortonian) and continental (Transdanubian) strata presented here suggests that mutual interaction and interdependence of climate subsystems ostensibly developed over the Mediterranean area and central-eastern Europe continent and were orbitally forced. Long-eccentricity insolation forcing is hypothesized to have exerted a broad control on the freshwater budget of the brackish Pannonian Basin and the consequent oceanographic setting of the Mediterranean region.
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