Scientists have found out where the water disappeared from the largest sea in the history of the Earth

Scientists have found out where the water disappeared from the largest sea in the history of the Earth
Scientists have found out where the water disappeared from the largest sea in the history of the Earth
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An international team of researchers studied the geology and conditions for the existence of the largest sea in the history of the planet - Paratethys.

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The work was published in Scientific Reports. Paratethys is a sea that existed on Earth in the early Cenozoic and formed 34 million years ago. It is sometimes even called the ocean, because it was the largest sea in the history of the planet, which stretched from modern France to Altai. About 10-14 million years ago, Paratethys closed and turned into a lake (Sarmatian Sea), and disappeared about five million years ago.

Until now, scientists know little about the ebb and flow of this sea, as well as how the water disappeared from it. A new study by experts from the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands), the Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia), the Zenckenberg Center for Biodiversity and Climate Research (Germany) and the University of Bucharest (Romania) showed that Paratethys survived four catastrophic cycles caused by climate change, which first reduced the size of the sea and then probably wiped out a significant number of species living in it.

But they were unique - even whales were found in the largest sea on the planet. To come to such conclusions, scientists studied the fossils, geology and sedimentary deposits around the Black Sea, which used to be part of Paratethys, and also used modeling. It turned out that the strongest drop in water level occurred between 7, 65 and 7, 9 million years ago.

During this period, called the Great Kherson drought, the water level in Paratethys dropped by 250 meters, dividing it into small lakes, which were probably not a suitable environment for many living organisms, which is why they died out. But at its peak, the sea contained 10 times more water than all modern lakes on the planet. Influenced the disappearance of Paratethys and temperature shifts, and the amount of precipitation in Eurasia, when forests gave way to open areas.

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