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Appendix S1. Data file showing details on location, lithology, biostratigraphy and palaeobathymetry of the studied sections and outcrops in central Crete along with their lithostratigraphic and biozonal assignment. Sections and outcrops in this file are arranged from area I to V and from E to W per area.

Appendix S2. Description and definition of the planktonic foraminiferal biozones defined in Gibliscemi (Sicily) and Metochia (Gavdos). The biozones are considered to be useful for correlating and dating upper middle to lower upper Miocene sediments in the Mediterranean region.

Figure S1. Location of sections and outcrops shown in Figure 2b plotted on a scanned version of the Tourist Map of Crete 1:100,000 (Harms-ic-Verlag, Germany). O=Kourtes; N=Agios Ioannis

Figure S2. (Semi) Quantitative distribution and coiling of selected planktonic foraminiferal taxa in section Gibliscemi (Sicily). This section combines subsections A to F described in Krijgsman et al. (1995) and Hilgen et al. (2000). The semiquantitative data for Gibliscemi A, B and C (extending from cycle G -3 up to top sapropel of cycle G 85 are based on 125-595 micron fraction counts of all 620 samples (average sample resolution < 5 kyr) including the data-set published in Krijgsman et al. (1995) which was based on only 40% of all samples from Gibliscemi A and B. This semi-quantitative record is spliced with the published quantitative pattern in the older part of the Gibliscemi sequence, i.e. Gibliscemi E, D and F (Hilgen et al., 2000; Turco et al., 2001). The spliced record combines Neogloboquadrina atlantica (small) and N. atlantica (large) into Neogloboquadrina atlantica and N. acostaensis sensu stricto and N. 4-chambered into Neogloboquadrina acostaensis. We further added percentages of N. atlantica per total neogloboquadrinids (with–10 values indicating samples where neogloboquadrinids are absent). The distribution and coiling pattern of the selected planktonic foraminiferal taxa allows a subdivision of the spliced record into nine planktonic foraminiferal biozones (numbered 1 to 9) and two subzones (numbered 7.1 and 7.2) up to the level of a significant hiatus at the top of the sapropel of cycle G 85 spanning ~200 kyr (Krijgsman et al., 1995).

Figure S3. Semi-quantitative distribution and coiling of selected planktonic foraminiferal taxa in section Metochia (Gavdos). The data presented here replace the original presence-absence data in Krijgsman et al. (1995) and are based on studying the 125-595 micron fraction of all 560 samples providing a resolution of < 5 kyr. Note that specimens referred to as Catapsydrax parvulus in Krijgsman et al. (1995) are re-labeled Globorotaloides falconarae (see also discussion in Hilgen et al., 2000). Lithology, sample position and cycle numbers are from Krijgsman et al. (1995) with the mentioning that we extended the original cycle pattern downward with cycles M0 to M-2. Biozones 6 to 9 and subzones 7.1 and 7.2 defined in Gibliscemi are present in Metochia as well and extended upwards by biozones 10 and 11.

Figure S4. Lithostratigraphic units for the Neogene basin fill in central Crete in this and earlier studies. Units are equally boxed using the base of Pliocene as reference line.

Figure S5. Photobook.

Table S1. Ages of planktonic foraminiferal bioevents defining 11 biozones (described in Appendix S2) and their position in terms of sample and sedimentary cycle numbers in sections Gibliscemi (Sicily) and Metochia (Gavdos). Ages for defining bioevents in Metochia are derived from retuning of sedimentary cycles (M-cycles) to the Laskar 2003(1,1) solution by Lourens et al. (2004). Updated ages for bioevents in Gibliscemi A and B are based on retuning G-cycles to La2003(1,1) by Lourens et al. (2004) and for bioevents in Gibliscemi F-C by retuning correlative cycles in the Monte dei Corvi section (northern Italy) to La2004(1,1) by Hüsing et al. (2007). Ages in red are used in this paper. Also shown is position of bioevents in terms of sample number (as registered in the Utrecht collections) and sedimentary cycle number. Table also includes identified magnetic chron boundaries in Metochia (Krijgsman et a., 1995) and Monte dei Corvei (Hüsing et al., 2007) together with their position in terms of M-cycles and correlative G-cycles (from Hilgen et al., 2003). Updated ages for magnetic chron boundaries in Metochia are from Lourens et al. (2004) and in Monte dei Corvi from Hüsing et al. (2007).

[Correction added after online publication 24 August 2011 - in Location 8 in Appendix S1, the sentence ‘a correlation of the lower Kastellios Hill section to Chron 4Ar.2r is the most likely’ was changed to ‘a correlation of the lower Kastellios Hill section to Chron 4Ar.1r is the most likely’]

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