After a long period of controversial debate about the interpretation of the Messinian salinity crisis (MSC), a near consensusexisted since the ODP Leg 42A for a model keeping the major lines of the deep basin-shallow water model initially proposed byHsü et al. (1973). The knowledge of the crisis was improved since the 1995s by the availability of a very accurate astronomicallycalibrated timescale. The debate about its interpretation was then reactivated by several new scenarios that questioned most themajor aspects of the previous classical models.
The updated re-examination of the most salient features along with consideration ofthe hydrological requirements for evaporite deposition allow us to assess the viability of the new models. We propose an integratedscenario that revives the key points of the previous model with new statements about the chronology, depositional settings,hydrological mechanisms, consequences and correlations with the global changes. A model implying two main stages of evaporitedeposition that affected successively the whole basin with a slight diachronism matches better the whole dataset. The distribution ofthe evaporites and their depositional timing were constrained by the high degree of paleogeographical differentiation and by thethreshold effects that governed the water exchanges. It is assumed that the central Sicilian basin was a deep basin located in amarginal position with regard to the deepest central basins. The restriction of the Mediterranean was predominantly under a tectoniccontrol, but the complex development of the evaporitic crisis implied the interplay of both glacio-eustatic changes and fluctuationsof the circum-Mediterranean climate.