I have just returned from the beautiful island of Cyprus. However, this wasn't a holiday (honest); it was fieldwork with my PhD student. We spent five days touring the island and recording rock outcrops so that she can investigate the Messinian Salinity Crisis and it's impacts on organic walled microplankton. The Messinian Salinity Crisis is one of the superstar geological events that should be as famous as the dinosaur killing meteorite, in my opinion at least! At around 5.9 million years ago the seaways (there were more than one during the Messinian) between Africa and Gibraltar closed. This trapped the early Mediterranean Sea and with the warmer than modern climate, created a giant salt lake. As you can probably imagine, life didn't respond well to this and it wasn't another 600,000 years before normal ocean conditions returned. If you ever find yourself on Cyprus, keep an eye on the road cuttings (keep the other one on the road!) and if you see a little sparkle on the rocks that is the Messinian Salinity Crisis.