A channeled shelf fan initiated by flooding of the black sea

William B.F. Ryan, Dina Vachtman, Cecilia McHugh, M. Namik Çaʇatay, Yossi Mart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


High-resolution mapping and reflection profiling reveal a depositional fan on the Black Sea SW shelf fed from the Strait of Istanbul (Bosporus). The fan is constructed with an initial deposit of pebbles mixed with glacial and post-glacial shell debris. The pebbles are identical in their composition to quartzite and gabbro recovered in drill cores from the Bosporus Strait. Directly above the pebble layer are mollusks and foraminifera of Mediterranean provenance dated at 6.9 ka bp (uncorrected). Synchronicity between the onset of fan construction and arrival of Mediterranean fauna suggests an origin linked to the connection of the Black Sea's lake with the global ocean. The volume of the chaotic interior of the fan is comparable in magnitude to the volume excavated from the floor of the Bosporus Strait. We propose that when the exterior ocean breached the sill of this inlet, it transformed into an outburst of saltwater that gained energy as it enlarged the inlet. Torrents stripped the glacial and post-glacial covering from its pathway and scattered entrained debris in sheets and mounds as far away as the edge of the shelf. Even in areas where the pre-existing cover survived, its eroded surface attests to the passage of flooding water.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Mediterranean Sea
Subtitle of host publicationIts History and Present Challenges
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789400767041
ISBN (Print)940076703X, 9789400767034
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. All rights are reserved by the Publisher.


  • Black Sea SW shelf
  • Black Sea s lake
  • Bosporus Strait
  • Depositional fan
  • Flooding water
  • Foraminiferans
  • Gabbro
  • Glacial and post-glacial shell debris
  • Global ocean
  • High-resolution mapping
  • Mediterranean fauna
  • Mollusks
  • Pebbles
  • Quartzite
  • Reflection profiling
  • Strait of Istanbul (Bosporus)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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