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The development of the Mediterranean region since the Cretaceous - illustrated by foraminiferal assemblages

The present-day geological setting of the Mediterranean region is the result of the northward drift of the African-Arabian plates into Eurasia during the Cenozoic producing a vast variety of marine realms. During the Cenozoic Africa moved northwards into Eurasia with a mainly counterclockwise rotation involving several microplates. In between was the Neotethys ocean stretching from the Atlantic to the areas, where at present is the Indian Ocean. The Neotethys ocean continuously shrank until it was disintegrated into 3 parts: The Northern Paratethys (shrinked to the Black Sea), the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. Nowadays the Mediterranean Region is characterized by manifold marine environments ranging from deap-sea, shelf, brackish till oxygen-depleted areas.
The Mediterranean region at present
Image based upon Screenshot from NASA World Wind

Remnants of these ancient realms and present ecosystems are found in the foraminiferal fossil record and present-day sediments. Samples randomly received or taken are used to illustrate the development of the Mediterranean region in the Cenozoic. Only basic conclusion of the foraminiferal record are presented here. Please refer to the mentioned references for deeper insights.
  • Upper Cretaceous - no samples yet
  • Paleocene - no samples yet
  • Eocene - samples from
  • Oligocene - 1 sample from Malta
  • Miocene: Aquitanian - no samples yet
  • Miocene: Burdigalian - 1 sample from the Pannonian Basin, Hungary
  • Miocene: Langhian 2 samples from Malta
  • Pliocene: - 1 sample from Spain
  • Pleistocene: 2 samples from Northern Italy and Sicily
  • Pleistocene: Peloritani Mountains Sicily - 1 sample
  • recent/subrecent: Western Mediterranean: Adriatic Sea - 3 samples
  • recent/subrecent: Eastern Mediterranean - samples from
  • recent/subrecent: Black Sea - no samples yet
Please consider to contribute your material (images, picked specimens, raw material) to fill the gaps or tell me about errors. michael [at]


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