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Detailed studies of cores taken in the eastern Mediterranean Sea by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and other institutions have enabled lithologic and time-stratigraphic correlations to be made between these cores, thereby contributing to an understanding of the sedimentation history of this basin during the Quaternary. The deep-sea stratigraphic section is a complex sequence of sapropels, turbidites, oozes, volcanic ashes, detrital and biogenic sands, and detrital silt beds. Integrated sedimentation rates since the Pliocene have averaged 10-20 cm/103 years and ranged from less than 1 to more than 100 cm/103 years. Rates during the Quaternary are slightly less, although variations do occur, primarily as a result of glacial/nonglacial climati controls. Patterns of sedimentation also have been affected by these climatic changes, with only relatively minor variations reflecting tectonism and changes in provenance.
Volumetrically, the Nile River system is and has been the largest contributor of detrital material. Additional detritus is derived from Anatolia and from the Aegean Sea, the latter contributing predominantly finer material. The other borderlands do not supply large amounts; eolian material from north Africa is noticeable, however. Variations of this detrital input and in carbonate deposition have occurred primarily in response to climatic changes during the Quaternary.
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