The Pannonian Lake Disappearance in the Late Uppermost Pleistocene - Causes and Consequences_Belgrade 2006 | Pleistocene | Lake


Ţicleanu Mircea1, Constantin Paul1, Stănoiu Ion1, Bădiceanu Emanuela, Sereţan Vasile2, Nicolescu Radu1, Ţicleanu Radu
Paper presented at „The XVIIIth Congress of the Carpathian-Balkans Geological Association”, Belgrade 2006
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Geological Institute of Romania, str. Caransebeş nr. 1, Bucureşti Formin S.A. str. Mihai Viteazu nr. 1, Caransebeş Abstract: The Pannonian Lake, placed in an endoreic basin even since the late Pontian, seem to had been existed during the entire Pleistocene. Its partial drainage, due to the genesis of Danube Gorge as a result of a piracy from the Dacic Basin, was facilitated by an overloading that followed a flood due to the meteorites rain that affected the West Atlantic over 11,500 years ago (9,541 B.C.). An endoreic lake, having its shore at about +100 m elevation, was maintained in the Lower Holocene in the SE area of the Pannonian Basin mainly. The Pleistocene evolution of the Dacic Basin, the Pleistocene lacustrine delta of the Paleo-Mureş and the Holocene marine Danube Delta are in favour of this viewpoint. The Holocene sands "dunes" of the Pannonian area and Romanian Plain, formed due to this flood, had in fact eolian-aluvial origins, instead of an eolian one. The paleogeographical post-flood changes of the Pannonian area seem to be reflected in some great humanity myths (Atlantis, biblical flood, North Scandinavian myths), as well. Key word: Pannonian Lake, uppermost Pleistocene, endoreic basin, flood, delta, Danube Gorge

1. Introduction. The problem of the Pannonian Lake disappearance cannot be solved without taking into account the paleogeographical evolution of the surrounding areas, the Dacic Basin mainly, the moment and the way in which the Danube Gorge was built, the Danube Delta evolution, the great Quaternary glaciation climatic changes, the actual Central and Southeast Europe hydrographic facts, and many others, as well. The achievement of all these aspects suggests the late, post Pleistocene definitivation of the actual configuration of the Danube hydrographic system, and the special part of an unwonted cosmic event, which in the Late Uppermost Pleistocene affected the whole planet. Thus, the present paper tried to obtain a coherent image of the paleogeographical evolution of a large area, from the viewpoint of a possible very long survival of an endoreic basin of the Central Paratethys, basin with a very interesting evolution. 2. The paleogeographical evolution of the Pannonian Basin. It is usual to consider that the separation of the Pannonian Sea, as part of the Central Paratethys, took place beginning with the Sarmatian, which meant the isolation of a great endoreic lake, which had a particular evolution for a long time. However, it seems that a last temporary link, demonstrated by the mollusc faunas, was established during the Middle Pontian. But beginning with the Upper Pontian, a definitive isolation of the Pannonian Lake took place, which was maintained, without any doubt, during the whole Pliocene. The lake was characterised by an endoreic, local thermophile fauna, and by a relative pronounced hydrothermalism. One can assume as the maximal extension of this lake, during Pliocene, was linked with the Dacian-Romanian coalgenerating phase, which made possible the appearance of the Pliocene coal facies known in this basin. Beginning with the Late Pliocene, the Pannonian Lake evolution was very disputed. Some authors (Kázmér, 1990) consider that

in the Late Pliocene (2,4 billion years ago, according to this author), the Pannonian Lake was filled completely. However, other authors (Voiteşti, 1936; L. de Loczy, 1910, fide Vâlsan, 1964); Oncescu, 1965) consider that the Pannonian Basin was isolated during the Lower Pleistocene as well. L. de Lőczy (1910) considers that during this period (the "Old" Pleistocene), a desert, with rivers without drainage and an arid climate, was installed in the Pannonian Basin. However, in our viewpoint the Pannonian Lake was maintained during the whole Pleistocene, with minimal extensions during the glacial phases (the Riss phase mainly), and with returns during the interglacial phases. This lake drainage by the actual Danube Gorge seem to be realised in the Late Uppermost Pleistocene. However, the drainage was only partial, because, during the Lower Holocene a nonendoreic lake was maintained initially in the SE area of the Pannonian Basin, having its shore at about +100 m elevation for a long time (for some millennium possibly). It is interesting to mention that until historical times, the passing of waters through the Danube Gorge was still difficult, thus in spring there was possible to appear a temporary lake upstream, called by the antics "Mare Album". 2.1. The Pleistocene lacustrine delta of Paleo-Mureş. A clear proof for the existence of the Pannonian Lake in the Pleistocene, can be considered the very well shaped delta of the Paleo-Mureş. The great quantity of sediments brought by the Paleo-Mureş from a very large area of the Transylvanian Basin was subaerial, deposited only partially, in the circumstances of a very weak final current of the river, into a lake with a great surface and lacking streams generally. 3. The paleogeographical evolution of the Dacic Basin. The surface of this great Mio-Pliocene Basin was gradually reduced, beginning with the Upper Miocene mainly. However, its great extensions can be imagined in the Middle Pontian (with possible link to the Pannonian

Basin), and in the Pliocene, as well, during the coalgenerating phase. Beginning with the terminal Pliocene, the lake area which developed in the Dacic Basin, sweetened completely even since the beginning of the Romanian, reduced continuously towards East and South, process that continued in distinct phases during Quaternary, as well. To the final Pleistocene, the lacustrial area was reduced and it covered the actual Danube meadow, continued with the actual Brăila and Ialomiţa swamps. The Romanian Plain rivers flew practically into this relict lake, and the Danube Pleistocene "protodelta" (in the West of "The Initial Jebriany-Letea-Caraorman Spit" which was pointed out by Panin, 1977), due to the rivers from Moldova mainly (Siret, Prut) or from Ukraine (Catlabug, Ialpug and Cahul). During its evolution, the Dacic Basin was never isolated from the Pontic and Caspic Basins, till the glacial phases. After the glacial phase Würm, the waters came back and during Holocene the link between the Pontic Basin with the Mediterranean Sea was re-established along the actual Bosfor Straits. 4. The Danube Gorge genesis. Different authors placed the moment of its appearance in very different moments: (1) In the Upper Sarmatian: Paucă (1981) or in the end of the "Sarmatic": Sevastos (1903); (2); In Miocene or PreMiocene ("Pontic"): Cvijić (1908); (3) In the end of the Pliocene (beginning of Quaternary namely): Lapparent (1896), Hallavats (1900), de Martonne (1902), Sevastos (1903, 1908), Macovei (1909), Vâlsan (1919 fide Vâlsan 1964), Ionescu-Balea (1923), Coteţ (1957), Posea et al. (1963), Paucă (1981), Kásmér (1990); In the end of the Lower Quaternary (Old Quaternary, Eopleistocene): L. de Lóczy (1910, fide Vâlsan, 1964), Vâlsan (1919 - first option), Popescu-Voiteşti (1936), Oncescu (1965), Marović et al. (1997); (5) In the end of the Pleistocene: Brătescu (1943), Pop (1947) and Apostol (1980). It is obvious that according to each of these different moments, the discussion concerning the causes that led to the gorge genesis, it is different. Old or very old links between the two basins, which became permanent finally, cannot be accepted. The largest admitted is the opinion according to which the Danube hydrographic basin was sketched in the end of the Pliocene (the beginning of the Quaternary), but more possible seem to be the hypotheses which are in favour of a newer age (intra-pleistocene) or even very new one (end of Pleistocene). Regarding the Danube Gorge genesis, one must mention first of all the piracy hypotheses proposed by Peters (1876), for which Murgoci (1902), de Martonne (1902), Vâlsan (1919), Ficheux and Vergez-Tricom (1948), Posea et al. (1963), Rădulescu et al. (1965) and recently Marović et al. (1997) were in favour. In an elaborated form, this hypotheses admitted the piracy of a river with Western direction (the Pannonian Paleo-Danube) by a Valahian

Paleo-Danube. Another hypotheses took into account a quasipermanent link between the Pannonian Lake and the Dacic Basin, link which became later the actual gorge: Murgoci (1902, 1908), Cvijić (1908), Macovei (1909), Paucă (initially). Another version took into account "an overflow of waters" which resulted from the Pannonian waters level rising: Toula (1896), Hallavats (1900), Schafarzik (1903). Some authors pointed out the special part played in the gorge genesis by the dislocation system from its area: Peters (1876), Inkey (1884), Iannescu (1895), Drăghiceanu (1896), Sevastos (1903, 1908). Towards our days, the part played by the neotectonics upon this area was took into account mainly by Grubić et al. (1972, 1997), Marović et al. (1997), to the idea of a polygenetic origin of the Danube Gorge. 5. The favouring causes of disappearance of the endoreic Pannonian Lake: the meteorites rain and the flood. The re-established hydrological link between the Pannonian and Dacic basins seemed that was facilitated by the following events of a meteorites rain that took place over 11 millennium ago (9,541 B.C.). The Halley's comet passing at a short distance from Terra (Kamienski, 1952), thus during the end of the Pleistocene, produced a meteorites rain upon the terrestrial globe, but which was concentrated towards the Western edge of the North Atlantic, between the 300 and 400 parallels. A large number a great meteorites (about 140,000) and a lot of small meteorites reached the North America shore as well, in the area of the actual states Carolina (Prouty, 1952) mainly. The impact, beyond some important earthquakes at planetary level, determined the vaporisation of a huge quantity of oceanic water, as well, fact which led lately to showers that lasted very long, upon a large area which included the Central and Eastern Europe, as well. These showers fell upon the Pannonian Lake and its drainage basin, as well, modifying dramatically the lake hydrologic balance, meaning an extreme overloading, initial due to the liquid rainfalls which flew directly on the lake surface and later due to the water from the Pannonian lake drainage basin. The shore of this lake was placed at about +150 (±10 m) elevation, before the meteorites rain. The gorge narrow path building, by piracy probably, led to the disappearance of the endoreic character of the actual Middle Danube Depression, and to the appearance of a relict lake with surface drainage, having its shore at about +100 m elevation, lake which survived a while in the SE part of the Pannonian Basin mainly (fig. 1) 6. The major consequences of the sudden disappearance of the Pannonian Lake. The special rainfall contribution which preceded the Pannonian Lake restraint led to some sandy sediments accumulation in this lake area, in its central part mainly (between Danube and Tisza), in the NW of the Bákony Mountains and towards

SE, in the Deliblat dunes area. A part of these sands were transported towards the Dacic Basin as well, where they were accumulated downstream the Danube Gorge, till its confluence with Jiu river mostly. Downstream of this confluence there appear "eolian" sands in the left slope of Jiu river, and in the right bank of other Danube tributaries (Ialomiţa, Călmăţui and Buzău rivers) as well, the origin of

these sands being connected to the hydrographical basins of these rivers. However, one can assume that a part of these sand contributed to the Holocene marine Danube Delta genesis as well, developed in the East of "The Initial Jebriany-Letea-Caraorman Spit"-Panin (1977). Holocene

Fig.1 - The Pannonian Basin paleogeographical (hydrographical) image in Lower Holocene (after the Danube Gorge genesis) and the Holocene alluvial sands accumulation. (Interpretation after "The Europe Quaternary deposits map", 1:1.500.000, 1971, Moscow - Red. Krasnov I. I.). Legend: 1 - Lakes and swamps; 2 - Holocene sands; 3 - Actual lakes Balaton and Neusiedl (Fertö); 4 - Land

alluvial sands appear as well in the Romanian Plain and along the Danube, in the Ialomiţa and Brăila swamps area, and in the lower part of Bârlad river, as well, till over the confluence with Siret river. For all the above mentioned Holocene sands one can admit a primary alluvial origin, followed by an eolian modelling, fact which give a general aspect of eolian deposits. For the Holocene sands, thought to be "eolian" in South Oltenia, Ionescu-Balea noticed, even since 1923, that these don’t have the typical characteristics of the sea or continental dunes, representing rather irregular masses of sands with asymmetric undulations which have the classical appearance of the plains of dunes, only locally. Their elongation directions would reflect, in fact, the initial transport direction of the alluvionary sands. In Nyirseg area, between Tisza and Bodrog, Borsy et al. (1985) made 15 radiocarbon data determinations on fragments of wood contained by fossil soils from the holocene dunes mass. Eliminating the extreme values obtained by these authors, we gained an average absolute age of 11,526 years, very closely related to the age of the above mentioned meteorites rain (11,526 years in 1985, value at which must be added the age of those trees, as well). 7. The Quaternary Pannonian paleogeographical changes reflected in the Euro-Asiatic myths. It seems that both the pre-holocene paleogeographical facts, and the very important hydrographic modifications which took place after the meteorites rain, were reflected in very important myths of the humanity, belonging mainly to the people from the European and west-Asiatic area. The gradual paleogeographical changes seem to be best caught by the North, Scandinavian myths (Ţicleanu et al., 1991). The meteorites rain was very suggestive reproduced in some passages from the Apocalypse after John (New Testament), and the catastrophic consequences of this unwonted rain seem to be mentioned in the Genesis of the Old Testament (the famous biblical flood). The Myth of Atlantis has no meaning, as long as it has no relation with these paleogeographical changes of the Pannonian area, as well. 8. Conclusions. Taking into account the above mentioned facts, one can easily imagine the following order of the events which led to the disappearance of the Pannonian Lake, and the making of the actual configuration of the Central and SE Europe relief: the meteorites rain, with the main impact in the West Atlantic (300 and 400 North parallels); very important earthquakes at the planet level and volcanoes eruption; the quick evaporation of a huge quantity of oceanic water; violent torrential rains which lasted very long, or fabulous snow on vast areas, in the North hemisphere mainly; the overloading of the Pannonian Lake (endoreic lake); the Danube Gorge building by piracy from the Dacic Basin; The Pannonian

Lake (endoreic) disappearance and the building of a nonendoreic, relict lake, in the SE part of the Pannonian Basin, having the shore at about +100 m; the beginning of the Holocene Danube Delta building (in the East of "The Initial Jebriany-Letea-Caraorman Spit") with fine sedimentary material mainly, having its origin in the previous Pannonian Lake; the eolian processing of the aluvionar sands sedimented in the Pannonian area or along the Danube and some of its tributaries, sands proceeded initially from the flood that followed the meteorites rain; the actual Danube hydrographic system finalisation.
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