The Zanclean flood (also known as "Zanclean Deluge") is a flood theorized to have refilled the Mediterranean Sea 5.33 million years ago, at the beginning of the Zanclean age, between the Miocene and Pliocene, which ended the Messinian salinity crisis. The term was coined by Maria Bianca Cita in 1972 during the Deep Sea Drilling Project study which investigated specifically the transition between the Messinian and Zanclean ages in the Mediterranean.
According to this model, when water from the Atlantic Ocean refilled the cut-off inland seas in the Mediterranean basin that had become desiccated (see Messinian salinity crisis), flooding occurred through the basin. A channel opened from the Atlantic Ocean, through the modern-day Gibraltar Strait, and carried ocean water over a distance of over 200 km. The Mediterranean Sea was filled over a period estimated between several months and two years. Sea level rise in the basin may have reached rates at times greater than ten metres per day.
Water rushed down a drop of more than a kilometer with a discharge of up to 108 m3/s, about 1000 times the present day Amazon River, but studies of the underground structures at the Gibraltar Strait show that the flooding channel descended in a rather gradual way toward the bottom of the basin, rather than forming a steep waterfall.
See also 
- Blanc, P.-L. (2002). "The opening of the Plio-Quaternary Gibraltar Strait: assessing the size of a cataclysm". Geodinamica Acta (15): 303–317. doi:10.1016/S0985-3111(02)01095-1.
- Nesteroff, Wladimir D.; William B.F. Ryan, Kenneth J. Hsu, Guy Pautot, Forese C. Wezel, Jennifer M. Lort, Maria B. Cita, Wolf Maync, Herbert Stradner and Paulian Dumitrica (1972). "Evolution de la sédimentation pendant le Néogène en Méditerranée d'après les Forages JOIDES-DSDP". University of Milan Institute of Geology and Paleontology Publication (in French) (125): 47–62.
- M. Roveri et al. (2008). "A high-resolution stratigraphic framework for the latest Messinian events in the Mediterranean area". Stratigraphy 5 (3-4): 323–342.
- Garcia-Castellanos, D., Estrada, F., Jiménez-Munt, I., Gorini, C., Fernàndez, M., Vergés, J., De Vicente, R. (10 Dec 2009) Catastrophic flood of the Mediterranean after the Messinian salinity crisis, Nature 462, pp. 778–781, doi:10.1038/nature08555
- Media related to Messinian salinity crisis at Wikimedia Commons
- Gill, Victoria (9 December 2009). "Ancient Mediterranean flood mystery solved". BBC News. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- "Dramatic flood filled Mediterranean Sea". World News Australia/Agence France-Presse. 10 December 2009. Retrieved December 2010.