An underwater canyon formed six million years ago, discovered in the Mediterranean Sea

Israeli geologists have discovered a large submarine canyon, formed about 6 million years ago in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Geological Institute of Israel (GSI) announced on Sunday, reports Xinhua.

The canyon is 10 kilometers wide and 0.5 kilometers deep. Photo: Romanian Naval Forces (Archive)

The canyon was discovered in the depths of the Levant Basin, near the underwater mountain Eratosthenes, approximately 120 kilometers south of Cyprus and 250 kilometers northwest of the west coast of Israel, writes Agerpres.

According to GSI, a subsidiary of Israel's Ministry of Energy, the canyon is 10 kilometers wide and 0.5 kilometers deep and originated underwater during the Messinian period.

The canyon would have been formed, according to GSI, at the beginning of the so-called “the Messinian salinity crisis”adding that dense gravity currents were involved in its formation, which actively submerge and carve the seabed to significant depths.

The institute noted that this research provided information on the environmental conditions characterized by increased salinity in the deeper Mediterranean basins before the peak “salinity crisis”.

During “the Messinian salinity crisis”a rare geological event that occurred about 5.6 million years ago, the Mediterranean Sea dried up and became isolated from the world's oceans, leaving behind a deposit of salt several kilometers deep due to the evaporation of salt water.