The Geomicrobiology of the Messinian Salinity Crisis

by Jörn Peckman (University of Hamburg)



The Messinian salinity crisis (MSC) was a short-lived paleooceanographic event that dramatically impacted the depositional environments of the Mediterranean. Many of the sedimentary sequences of the MSC reflect environmental variability on extremely short time scales, challenging the adaptation capabilities of biota that dwelled in environments that were typified by phenomena like evaporation and high salinities, anoxia, and desiccation among other extremes. To shed light on the Geomicrobiology of the MSC, I will present three lithologies from depositional settings that became established in the course of the crisis. These are (1) primary gypsum with abundant, yet problematic filamentous microfossils, (2) Calcare di Base, limestones from Sicily and Calabria, and (3) Calcare Solfifero, authigenic carbonates associated with native sulfur from Sicily.