New evidence for the origin of hypersaline pore fluids in the Mediterranean basin

Avner Vengosh, Joris Gieskes, Chris Mahn

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The Br/Cl, Li/Cl and B/Cl ratios and boron isotope compositions of hypersaline pore fluids from DSDP Sites 372 and 374 were measured in an attempt to evaluate the origin of the brines. In Site 374 the relationships between the Cl concentrations (up to 5000 mM) and Br/Cl (~12 X 10-3), Na/Cl (as low as 0.1), B/Cl (2.5 X 10-3), and δ11B values (43-55‰) of the deep pore water between 380 and 405 mbsf, located within the Messinian sediments, reflect remnants of ~65-fold evaporated sea water. The original evaporated sea water was modified by: (1) dilution with overlying or less saline water by about 30%; and (2) slight dissolution of NaCl evaporites. The variations in δ11B show a continuous increase in δ11B values with depth in Site 374, up to 66.7‰ at a depth of 300 mbsf (Upper Pliocene marl sediments). The conspicuous 11B enrichment trend is consistent with elemental boron depletion, which was calculated from the expected boron concentrations of evaporated sea water with corresponding Br/Cl and Na/Cl ratios. Li/Cl variations also show a depletion of Li relative to evaporated sea water. The apparent depletions of B and Li, as well as the 11B enrichment, reflect uptake of these elements by clay minerals at low water/sediment ratios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-298
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Geology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2000


  • Hypersaline pore fluids
  • Mediterranean Basin
  • Sediment


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