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Facts About Black Sea – Everything in 20 Facts

This article on facts about Black Sea will try to cover everything about the sea that we skipped in our first article. In our last article, we learned why black sea is called black sea. We also learned about its geographic location, its connection with Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Azov. We learned how water circulates in the Black Sea and that the sea has two distinct layers of water that don’t mix with each other.

So basically, we learned about the naming of Black Sea and its Hydrology in our previous article. We answered two very important questions:

  • Why is Black Sea called Black Sea?
  • Is Black Sea salt water or fresh?

About the second question – Black Sea is salt water but heavy or high salinity is at greater depths than the surface level. Surface level has low salinity because of huge influx of fresh water from multiple rivers.

Read our previous article on Black Sea here.

Now the question is, what will we learn in this article?

Here are the few things we are going to cover:

  • Is Black Sea toxic?
  • Does Black Sea support life?
  • What are the different animal species we find in Black Sea?
  • Why do the organic matter that sink in Black Sea stay preserved?
  • Biblical importance if any.
  • What are the different names of Black Sea?

Combined with our previous list of Black Sea facts, these should be enough for you to score A+ in your school project. So, let’s get started!

Facts About Black Sea: 1-5

1. We start with this question – Is Black Sea Toxic? The answer to this question is a bit complicated. The answer is both YES and NO. Modeling of the sea has shown that at the depths of 180 meters and beyond, where you find the high saline water, there is hydrogen sulfide. Yes, that is toxic and that is the reason why, marine lives do not exist at that depth.

2. In shallower depths, that is above 180 meters, there is no hydrogen sulfide and this is where all the marine life forms thrive in Black Sea.

3. Also, the reason why life cannot thrive in greater depths of the sea is that the water is anoxic. We discussed this in our previous article. It is worth reading. Go through it.

4. Can you swim in Black Sea? Don’t worry! It is not going to bite you. As we mentioned, it only gets toxic if you happen to reach the depths of the Black Sea. You really can’t swim all the way down to 180 meters, can you? And remember, there’s life in the top layer of water. So, if they can thrive, you can swim!

5. Here is a brilliant and really surprising Black Sea fact: Organic matter and anthropogenic artifacts like boat hull that sink all the way down to the depths of Black Sea, stay preserved. The reason is simple! For them to decompose, there has to be oxygen that can be used by microbes. The water down below is anoxic (devoid of dissolved oxygen) and hence, such matter don’t decompose.

Facts About Black Sea: 6-10

6. Did we mention why the water at such depths is anoxic? Well, it is not that organic matter (that sink in Black Sea) do not decompose or decay at all. They do but, at a very slow rate and whatever oxygen is there is used up, making the water anoxic. This further slows down decaying of organic matter and hence, we see well-preserved organic matter and anthropogenic artifacts.

7. Deep sea expeditions in Black Sea have turned some well-preserved ancient artifacts like Byzantine shipwreck, boat hulls, settlement remains and more. No wonder, Black Sea has received some attention from marine archaeologists.

8. Actually, quite large amounts of organic matter reach the bottom of Black Sea and they get accumulated in sediments. The concentration of organic matter in sediments at the bottom of Black Sea is a whopping 20%. These kinds of sediments actually have a name. They are called sapropel.

9. Talking of Hydrogen Sulfide, where does it come from? We said that at the depths of 180 meters and beyond (that is 600 feet and beyond), there is no oxygen or very little oxygen. Nothing lives there. BUT, we didn’t mention that there are some extremophile microorganisms down there. These microbes make use of sulfate and oxidize organic material. In the process, they end up producing Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as byproducts. This is how Hydrogen Sulfide is formed in Black Sea.

10. Scientists have something interesting to say about the Hydrogen Sulfide. In case, the scientists say, an asteroid lands in Black Sea, it can cause serious problems. The Hydrogen Sulfide will be released in form of clouds and it can threaten the life of people and animals that live around Black Sea.

Facts About Black Sea: 11-15

11. About Black Sea’s Biblical importance, we will like to start by saying that we are devout Hindus and we don’t believe in any other religion. Having said that, here is what people say – Black Sea is the point where Noah’s Ark finally rested. As the story goes (without any scientific base), Noah’s Ark landed on a high point after sailing for months. That high point is supposed to be Mount Ararat.

12. It happens that Mount Ararat is standing along coastline of Black Sea in Eastern Turkey. So, That’s the Biblical significance of Black Sea.

13. Coming to marine ecosystem of Black Sea, you will be surprised to know that despite there being almost no life in Black Sea beyond 180 meters of depth, the top layer of water of the sea is teeming with life. The first major being the Phytoplankton.

14. There are several groups of Phytoplankton present in Black Sea and those groups are:

  • Dinoflagellates – anywhere between 193 to 267 different species live there
  • Diatoms – several species live in the sea in form of colonies of heterotrophic, non-motile and unicellular algae.
  • Coccolithopores – these are autotrophic and motile Phytoplankton which produce coccoliths or CaCO3 plates. Emiliania huxleyi is the major species.
  • Cyanobacteria – these are the bacteria that get energy from photosynthesis.

15. If you really want to meet the wide array of marine life in Black Sea, start at the surfline and take a close look at the shallow sandy bottom. You will be greeted by benthic fish, molluscs and crabs, hiding themselves like champion camouflagers.

Facts About Black Sea: 16-20

16. Comb a little more and you will be sure to find pipefish, stargazer, golden-grey and red mullets, flatfish and gobies.

17. For enhanced variety try diving into the rocky bottom habitats where sea anemones, shrimps and variedly bright blennies are aplenty. And yes, the sight of multicolored macroalgae is just breathtaking.

18. Knee-deep and all the way down to 15 meters and you will find little crustaceans, marine worms and miniature marine snails. And yes, there’s stone crabs – big ones and red triplefin are the tricky ones – always hiding from plain sight.

19. Those that aren’t shy at this depth are mullets and horse mackerels that sweep around in schools right over the brown algae jungle that you find there.

20. Black Sea is also home to a various jellyfish, scorpion fish, skates, common stingray, piked dogfish (a shark actually), seahorse, goat fish, hermit crab, blue sponge, common dolphin and bottle nose dolphin, harbor porpoise etc.

Different Names of Black Sea

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Black Sea is known by several names because it is surrounded by 6 different countries. Each country has its own unique name. The name given to Black Sea in each country is given in the table below:

CountryName of Black Sea
RussiaChornoye More
UkraineChorne More
BulgariaCherno More
TurkeyKara Deniz
GeorgiaShavi Zghva
RomaniaMarea Neagra

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6