Univ Bucharest, Dept Geol, Bucharest - Romania
Total Affiliations: 6
JUN 1 2021.
Web of Science Citations:
The largest megalake in the geological record formed in Eurasia during the late Miocene, when the epicontinental Paratethys Sea became tectonically-trapped and disconnected from the global ocean. The megalake was characterized by several episodes of hydrological instability and partial desiccation, but the chronology, magnitude and impacts of these paleoenvironmental crises are poorly known. Our integrated stratigraphic study shows that the main desiccation episodes occurred between 9.75 and 7.65 million years ago. We identify four major regressions that correlate with aridification events, vegetation changes and faunal turnovers in large parts of Europe. Our paleogeographic reconstructions reveal that the Paratethys was profoundly transformed during regression episodes, losing similar to 1/3 of the water volume and similar to 70% of its surface during the most extreme events. The remaining water was stored in a central salt-lake and peripheral desalinated basins while vast regions (up to 1.75 million km(2)) became emergent land, suitable for development of forest-steppe landscapes. The partial megalake desiccations match with climate, food-web and landscape changes throughout Eurasia, although the exact triggers and mechanisms remain to be resolved. (AU)