Understanding the Mediterranean Salt Giant
The Mediterranean Salt Giant (MSG) was formed about 6 million years ago during the Messinian stage of the Miocene epoch when the restriction of water exchanges between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea turned the Mediterranean into a hudge saline basin. The MSG exceeds a thickness of 3 km in the deep Mediterranean basins and contains more than one million cubic kilometres of evaporite salts (mainly halite and gypsum).
Extensive research has been carried out on the MSG since its discovery with deep-sea scientific drilling in 1970. SALTGIANT will train a new generation of 15 PhD students at the frontier between natural and social, fundamental and applied sciences with the aim to unravel what remains one of Earth Science’s most fascinating enigmas. The research objectives are organized into four research work packages.
SALTGIANT is a rare cross-disciplinary network of natural and social scientists dedicated to understanding the formation of the Mediterranean Salt Giant, one of the largest salt deposits on Earth, and its implications for sub-seafloor microbial life, risk assessment in the oil industry, geo-economics of the Mediterranean region and the history of oceanography.
SALTGIANT brings together 24 academic organizations (13 beneficiaries, 11 partners), 6 private sector Oil&Gas companies, 2 mining sector companies, 1 biotechnology company, 1 geopolitics think tank, 1 museum and 1 specialist in transferable skills training from 11 countries to stimulate interdisciplinary and intersectorial knowledge exchange between geologists, geophysicists, geochemists, microbiologist, geographers and historians in a network with PhD students at its core.
SALTGIANT combines (i) geological and geochemical field work, (ii) laboratory measurements and experiments, (iii) numerical modelling at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales and (iv) empirical social sciences data collection and analysis, guaranteeing exposure of the research fellows to state-of-the-art scientific knowledge and hands-on practical training in a field rich in applications of both intellectual and societal relevance.