Black Sea facts that you read here today may become handy for your school project. Nonetheless, that’s not the sole intention of providing this list of facts on Black Sea. The core intention is providing you with some intriguing facts that will leave you marveling at Mother Nature’s unique architecture that cannot be paralleled by humans, no matter how much we try. So, let us begin.
Black Sea Facts: 1-5 | Why is it called Black Sea?
1. To start with, ‘Why is Black Sea called Black Sea?’ This is a very common question. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer. According to popular belief, Black Sea was once called as ‘Inhospitable Sea’ simply because it was difficult to navigate. Also, it was Inhospitable Sea because of some extremely ferocious tribes living at its shores.
2. The ancient Greeks however managed to colonize the sea shores and made it navigable. So, the name was changed to ‘Hospitable Sea’. But that doesn’t explain why the name ‘Black Sea’?
3. According to Smithsonian Science Education Center, there are two hypotheses for such a name. They are:
- During winter months, severe storms over the Black Sea make the water appear Black to the sailors and hence the name – Black Sea.
- The other hypothesis is that objects that drown in the Black Sea (such as metal objects from ships, animal matter or dead plant matter) and sink all the way down to 150 meters or more and stay there for quite some time, get a black sludge covering because of high hydrogen sulfide concentration. This is the reason why it is called Black Sea.
4. Here is another explanation. In the ancient times, directions were denoted by colors. The North was Black. The South was Red. The West was White. The East was Light Blue or Green. So, the Black Sea possibly simply meant – the Sea in the North.
5. But, the name Black Sea (Sea in the North) could only be given by those people who lived to the south of the Black Sea and to the north of the Red (that is South). The Achaemenids (who lived between 550 BCE and 330 BCE) were the ones who were familiar with both the southern Red and the northern Black. Hence, Achaemenids were the one who probably gave the name Black Sea.
Black Sea Facts: 6-10 | Naming and Geography of Black Sea
6. There is yet another explanation about the name. During the winter times, a dense fog is developed over the Black Sea. It is so dense that it absorbs most of the sunlight that comes down on the sea, making it appear black and hence the name. One thing to note is that the density of this fog is so high that visibility in Black Sea is restricted to only 5 meters compared to Mediterranean Sea’s 35 meters of visibility.
7. Black Sea is an inland sea. It is sandwiched between Asia Minor and Southeastern Europe. The sea is surrounded by 6 countries. Those countries are: Georgia, Russia, Ukraine and Crimea, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.
8. This inland sea is connected with the Mediterranean Sea by the Dardanelles, Sea of Marmara and Bosporus. The Sea of Azov is the Black Sea’s largest arm and is connected to the Black Sea through Kerch Strait.
9. From East to West, the Black Sea runs 1,210 kilometers or 750 miles and is 560 kilometers or 360 miles wide. The maximum depth of the sea is at 2,245 meters or 7,364 feet.
10. Danube, Dniester, Southern Buh and Dnieper are the primary rivers that feed the Black Sea with fresh water.
Black Sea Facts: 11-15 | Physical Characteristics of Black Sea
11. Black Sea is world’s largest Meromictic Basin. Wait, what? Well, that simply means that upper water layer of the sea doesn’t mix with the deep water layer of the sea.
12. This nature of the Black Sea makes 90% or more of its deep water to be extremely anoxic (devoid of dissolved oxygen). The upper layer of water however is oxygenated and receives oxygen from atmosphere.
13. The only other water body with which the Black Sea exchanges water is the Mediterranean Sea. This water exchange takes place only through Dardanelles and Bosporus – both of which are very narrow and very shallow.
14. This has deep significance. The much more saline water from Mediterranean enters the Black Sea. The inflowing water has far more density than the outflowing water.
15. The outflowing water (that is the fresh water from Black Sea flowing out) lands in Sea of Marmara. The outflow happens at surface level while the inflow happens at the bottom.
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Black Sea Facts: 16-20 | Physical Characteristics of Black Sea
16. This type of water exchange is classic estuarine circulation (denser saline water flows in at bottom but lighter and less saline water flows out at surface level).
17. One thing of note here is that the total inflow of freshwater into Black Sea from the rivers ensures that the outflow volume from Black Sea into Mediterranean is two times more that the inflow volume into Black Sea from Mediterranean.
18. Here is another interesting Black Sea fact. Dardanelles and Bosporus are shallow and narrow and hence, inflow and outflow have high speed currents. The vertical sheer is high and the two water layers mix turbulently in the Dardanelles and Bosporus.
19. Because of this turbulent mixing, the salinity of freshwater flowing out of Black Sea reaches 34 psu from 17 psu by the time the water reaches Mediterranean Sea. On the other hand, the saline water that flows into the Black Sea, loses its salinity from 38.5 psu to 34 psu. [PSU is particle salinity unit].
20. High tides and low tides are totally absent in Black Sea. This means that the sea level doesn’t fluctuate. This makes the sea a very calm and quiet sea.