Black Sea outflow response to Holocene meltwater events

  • During the Holocene, North American ice sheet collapse and rapid sea-level rise reconnected the Black Sea with the global ocean. Rapid meltwater releases into the North Atlantic and associated climate change arguably slowed the pace of Neolithisation across southeastern Europe, originally hypothesized as a catastrophic flooding that fueled culturally-widespread deluge myths. However, we currently lack an independent record linking the timing of meltwater events, sea-level rise and environmental change with the timing of Neolithisation in southeastern Europe. Here, we present a sea surface salinity record from the Northern Aegean Sea indicative of two meltwater events at ~8.4 and ~7.6 kiloyears that can be directly linked to rapid declines in the establishment of Neolithic sites in southeast Europe. The meltwater events point to an increased outflow of low salinity water from the Black Sea driven by rapid sea level rise >1.4 m following freshwater outbursts from Lake Agassiz and the final decay of the Laurentide ice sheet. Our results shed new light on the link between catastrophic sea-level rise and the Neolithisation of southeastern Europe, and present a historical example of how coastal populations could have been impacted by future rapid sea-level rise.

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Author:Jens Olaf Herrle, Jörg Bollmann, Christina Gebühr, Hartmut Schulz, Rosie M. Sheward, Annika Giesenberg
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Scientific reports
Publisher:Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
Place of publication:[London]
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/03/06
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/05/17
Tag:Palaeoceanography; Palaeoclimate
Issue:1, Art. 4081
Page Number:6
First Page:1
Last Page:6
Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Institutes:Geowissenschaften / Geographie / Geowissenschaften
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft
Fachübergreifende Einrichtungen / Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F)
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Open-Access-Publikationsfonds:Geowissenschaften / Geographie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0