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danube delta formation

Danube Delta

Did a catastrophic flood of biblical proportions drown the shores of the Black Sea 9,500 years ago, wiping out early Neolithic settlements around its perimeter? Liviu Giosan, a geologist in the WHOI Geology and Geophysics Department, and colleagues used sediment cores from the delta of the Danube River, which empties into the Black Sea, to reconstruct sea level for the Black Sea as far back as 10,000 years. The researchers determined sea level was approximately 30 meters below present levels — rather than the 80 meters others hypothesized — before a breach of the Bosporus sill raised levels to a maximum of 20 meters (the flooded area is represented by light blue water). Their estimates mean that the magnitude of the Black Sea flood was 5 or 10 meters rather than 50 to 60 meters. (Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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