A little-known sea, the Kara Sea is a direct result of deglaciation. Though it remains frozen during most of the times of the year, this sea is an important source of fish in this world. A wide range of fish and other marine life forms can be found in this sea. In this article, let us learn about Kara Sea facts and understand a bit more about it. In the process, we will learn why this sea earned some attention on the global stage.
Interesting Kara Sea Facts: 1-5
1. Arctic Ocean’s extension, Kara Sea is present to the north of western side of Siberia. It has many other names like Russian Karskoye, Karskoe, or Karskoje More.
2. It was previously called as Mare Glaciale or Oceanus Scythicus and the Kara Sea was named by either of the two names in 16th century maps.
3. It is named after the river Kara which flows into the sea. Though now it became insignificant, it was instrumental in occupation of North Siberia by Russians. In Turkic language Kara means black and symbolizes north.
4. The Kara Sea is a result of deglaciation. In simple words, it is formed out of glacier during the last ice age. Small parts of glacial ice are still seen in some parts of the sea under the layer of silty deposit.
5. It covers an area of 340,000 square miles or 880,000 square kilometres. It is 1,450 kilometres long and 970 kilometres wide. The average depth is 417 feet or 127 metres whereas the maximum depth is 2,034 feet or 620 metres.
Interesting Kara Sea Facts: 6-10
6. It is surrounded by Siberia (Russia), Novaya Zemlya islands, Franz Josef Land, the Severnaya Zemlya islands (archipelago).
7. It is in contact with Arctic Basin, Barents Sea and Laptev Sea. The rivers which flow into the Kara sea are Yenisey, Ob, Kara, Pyasina and Taimyra.
8. It is connected with many islands. The islands are varied greatly as some islands have mountain ranges, others are completely blanketed with ice and many others are sandy.
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9. Salinity of the sea varies greatly. Near the mouth of Ob and Yenisey, the salinity is 10-12 ppt (parts per thousand) because Kara sea receives a lot of fresh water from these rivers and salinity is 33 ppt near Franz Josef Land.
10. It is possibly one of the coldest seas in the world. Its maximum temperature is 16 degrees Celsius and minimum is -46 degrees Celsius. The average temperature in January is anywhere between -28 to -20 degrees Celsius and in July it shoots up to 6 degrees Celsius.
Interesting Kara Sea Facts: 11-15
11. It is mostly covered with ice. The only months when the ships can sail are August and September.
12. In these two months, fishing season reaches its peak. The two main ports, Dikson and Novy Port are important in transporting not only fish but also timber, building material, furs, foodstuffs.
13. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) sponsored an expedition in 2015 in Kara sea to know more about the wildlife present there.
14. Though it is mostly covered with ice, aquatic animals are seen in abundance here. Molluscs, sharks, rays, salmon, cod, tuna, billfishes, herrings, anchovies etc. are seen and the King of the arctic – the Polar Bear is often seen on the edges of Kara sea to hunt for fish and seals.
15. However, just like any sea or land, Kara sea’s diversity is taking a hit because of radioactive waste that is being dumped by 14 nuclear reactors, 19 ships with radioactive waste and K-27 nuclear submarine as well as 735 other heavy machinery pieces which have radioactive material operated by the Russian Government.
Interesting Kara Sea Facts: 16-20
16. This nuclear waste dumping poses a great threat to many countries like Norway, Finland etc. but of all the countries, Russia faces the greatest threat. However, Russian government is doing nothing to prevent further dumping.
17. Bellona a Russian non-profit organisation is doing its best to bring the matter of nuclear waste dumping in the Arctic sea to the forefront. It is taking other nations’ help to solve this environmental issue.
18. The sea has lately gained more popularity because of the discovery of petroleum and natural gas reserves near the Ob-Yensey rivers. However, it has not yet been developed.
19. The Russian government now is keen to remove the nuclear waste because they can use the petroleum and natural gas present under the Kara sea.
20. The islands of Kara sea and Kara sea are included in the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve which is the largest Nature Reserve in Russia. It depicts the diversity of the arctic life.