Black Sea

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Black Sea
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{{About|the large body of water}}{{redirect|Euxine|the town of ancient Caria|Euxine (Caria)}}{{short description| Marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and Asia}}{{Use mdy dates|date=November 2019}}

| type = SeaDanube River>Danube, Dnieper River, Southern Bug, Dniester River>Dniester, Don River (Russia), Kuban River>Kuban, Rioni River, Kızılırmak River>Kızılırmak| outflow = Bosphorus| catchment =Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia (country)>Georgia, TurkeyA large number of countries included in drainage basins for inflow rivers1175miabbr=on}}| width =436402sqmiabbr=on}}1253ftabbr=on}}2212ftabbr=on}}547000cumiabbr=on}}| residence_time =| shore =| elevation =| frozen =10+)| islands_category = Islands of the Black Sea| cities =| reference =}}File:Black Sea coast of Georgia (country), with skyline of Batumi on the horizon.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.35| Black Sea coast of western Georgia, with the skyline of BatumiBatumiFile:Ласточкино гнездо.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35| Swallow's Nest in CrimeaCrimeaFile:Здание санатория «Орджоникидзе» (Сочи, курортный пр.)102.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35| A health resort in SochiSochiThe Black Sea is a body of water and marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean between Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Western Asia.WEB, Socio-economic indicators for the countries of the Black Sea basin, 2001, UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library, United Nations Environment Programme,weblink December 11, 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink February 10, 2011, It is supplied by a number of major rivers, such as the Danube, Dnieper, Southern Bug, Dniester, Don, and the Rioni. Areas of many countries drain into the Black Sea,"Black Sea Geography, Oceanography, Ecology, History" Living Black Sea including Germany, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.The Black Sea has an area of {{convert|436400|km2|abbr=on}} (not including the Sea of Azov),Surface Area—WEB, Black Sea Geography, University of Delaware College of Marine Studies,weblink 2003, April 3, 2014, a maximum depth of {{convert|2212|m|abbr= on}},Maximum Depth—WEB, Europa – Gateway of the European Union Website, Environment and Enlargement – The Black Sea: Facts and Figures,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink November 14, 2008, and a volume of {{Convert|547000|km3|abbr= on}}.JOURNAL, Unexpected changes in the oxic/anoxic interface in the Black Sea, Nature Publishing Group,weblink March 30, 1989, December 2, 2006, 338, 6214, 10.1038/338411a0, 411–413, Murray, J. W, Jannasch, H. W, Honjo, S, Anderson, R. F, Reeburgh, W. S, Top, Z, Friederich, G. E, Codispoti, L. A, Izdar, E, 1989Natur.338..411M, It is constrained by the Pontic Mountains to the south, Caucasus Mountains to the east, Crimean Mountains to the north, Strandzha to the southwest, Balkan Mountains to the west, Dobrogea Plateau to the northwest, and features a wide shelf to the northwest.The longest east–west extent is about {{convert|1175|km|abbr= on}}.WEB,weblink World and Its Peoples, July 21, 2010, Marshall Cavendish, Google Books, Important cities along the coast include Odessa, Sevastopol, Samsun, and Istanbul.The Black Sea is bordered by Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, and Russia. It has a positive water balance; that is, a net outflow of water {{convert|300|km3|abbr= on}} per year through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles into the Aegean Sea. There is a two-way hydrological exchange: the more saline and therefore denser, but warmer, Mediterranean water flows into the Black Sea under its less saline outflow. This creates a significant anoxic layer well below the surface waters. The Black Sea drains into the Mediterranean Sea, via the Aegean Sea and various straits, and is navigable to the Atlantic Ocean. The Bosphorus Strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the Strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean Sea region of the Mediterranean. The Black Sea is also connected, to the north, to the Sea of Azov by the Strait of Kerch.The water level has varied significantly over geological time. Due to these variations in the water level in the basin, the surrounding shelf and associated aprons have sometimes been dry land. At certain critical water levels it is possible for connections with surrounding water bodies to become established. It is through the most active of these connective routes, the Turkish Straits, that the Black Sea joins the world ocean. During geological periods when this hydrological link wasn't present, the Black Sea was an endorheic basin, operating independently of the global ocean system (similar to the Caspian Sea nowadays). Currently, the Black Sea water level is relatively high; thus, water is being exchanged with the Mediterranean. The Turkish Straits connect the Black Sea with the Aegean Sea, and comprise the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles. The Black Sea undersea river is a current of particularly saline water flowing through the Bosphorus Strait and along the seabed of the Black Sea. The discovery of the river, announced on August 1, 2010, was made by scientists at the University of Leeds, and is the first of its kind in the world.NEWS,weblink Undersea river discovered flowing on sea bed, Gray, Richard, August 1, 2010, The Daily Telegraph, August 2, 2010, The undersea river stems from salty water spilling through the Bosphorus Strait from the Mediterranean Sea into the Black Sea, where the water has a lower salt content.


The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Black Sea as follows:WEB,weblink Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition, 1953, International Hydrographic Organization, February 7, 2010,
On the Southwest. The Northeastern limit of the Sea of Marmara [A line joining Cape Rumili with Cape Anatoli (41°13'N)].
In the Kertch Strait. A line joining Cape Takil and Cape Panaghia (45°02'N).

Population{|class"infobox" style"text-align:center; width:97%; margin-right:10px; font-size:90%"

! style="text-align:center;" colspan=11|Most populous urban areas along the Black Sea coastline!rowspan=23 width:150|(File:Istanbul2010.jpg|border|135px)Istanbul(File:Pantelejmonowski Kirche Odessa.jpg|border|135px)Odessa! style="text-align:center; background:#f5f5f5;"|Rank! style="text-align:center; background:#f5f5f5;"|City! style="text-align:center; background:#f5f5f5;"|Country! style="text-align:center; background:#f5f5f5;"|Region/County! style="text-align:center; background:#f5f5f5;"|Population (urban)!rowspan=23 width:150|(File:Samsun.jpg|border|135px)Samsun(File:Mamaia_Beach_(September_2013).JPG|border|135px)Constanța1align=leftIstanbul>Istanbul Province>Istanbul14,324,240HTTP://RAPOR.TUIK.GOV.TR/REPORTS/RWSERVLET?ADNKSDB2&ENVID=ADNKSDB2ENV&REPORT=WA_TURKIYE_ILCE_KOY_SEHIR.RDF&P_IL1=34&P_KOD=1&P_YIL=2011&P_DIL=1&DESFORMAT=HTML >TITLE=TURKISH STATISTICAL INSTITUTE ACCESSDATE=JANUARY 14, 2014 ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20120825102509/HTTP://RAPOR.TUIK.GOV.TR/REPORTS/RWSERVLET?ADNKSDB2&ENVID=ADNKSDB2ENV&REPORT=WA_TURKIYE_ILCE_KOY_SEHIR.RDF&P_IL1=34&P_KOD=1&P_YIL=2011&P_DIL=1&DESFORMAT=HTML, August 25, 2012, 2align=leftOdessa>Odessa Oblast>Odessa1,003,7053align=leftSamsun>Samsun Province>Samsun535,401HTTP://RAPOR.TUIK.GOV.TR/REPORTS/RWSERVLET?ADNKSDB2&ENVID=ADNKSDB2ENV&REPORT=WA_TURKIYE_ILCE_KOY_SEHIR.RDF&P_IL1=55&P_KOD=1&P_YIL=2011&P_DIL=1&DESFORMAT=HTML >TITLE=TURKISH STATISTICAL INSTITUTE ACCESSDATE=JANUARY 14, 2014 ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20140116125342/HTTP://RAPOR.TUIK.GOV.TR/REPORTS/RWSERVLET?ADNKSDB2&ENVID=ADNKSDB2ENV&REPORT=WA_TURKIYE_ILCE_KOY_SEHIR.RDF&P_IL1=55&P_KOD=1&P_YIL=2011&P_DIL=1&DESFORMAT=HTML, January 16, 2014, 4align=leftConstanța>Constanța County>Constanța491,498HTTP://WWW.ANALIZEECONOMICE.RO/2016/03/CAT-CRESCUT-POPULATIA-IN-PRINCIPALELE.HTML>TITLE=CâT A CRESCUT POPULAțIA îN PRINCIPALELE ZONE METROPOLITANE ALE țăRII îN ULTIMELE DOUă DECENII,, 5align=leftVarna>Varna Province>Varna474,0766align=leftSevastopol>Crimean Peninsula>|379,2007align=leftSochi>Krasnodar Krai>|343,3348align=leftTrabzon>Trabzon Province>Trabzon305,231HTTP://RAPOR.TUIK.GOV.TR/REPORTS/RWSERVLET?ADNKSDB2&ENVID=ADNKSDB2ENV&REPORT=WA_TURKIYE_ILCE_KOY_SEHIR.RDF&P_IL1=61&P_KOD=1&P_YIL=2011&P_DIL=1&DESFORMAT=HTML >TITLE=TURKISH STATISTICAL INSTITUTE ACCESSDATE=JANUARY 14, 2014 ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20140116125412/HTTP://RAPOR.TUIK.GOV.TR/REPORTS/RWSERVLET?ADNKSDB2&ENVID=ADNKSDB2ENV&REPORT=WA_TURKIYE_ILCE_KOY_SEHIR.RDF&P_IL1=61&P_KOD=1&P_YIL=2011&P_DIL=1&DESFORMAT=HTML, January 16, 2014, 9align=leftNovorossiysk>Krasnodar Krai>|241,95210align=leftBurgas>Burgas Province>Burgas223,902HTTP://RAPOR.TUIK.GOV.TR/REPORTS/RWSERVLET?ADNKSDB2&ENVID=ADNKSDB2ENV&REPORT=WA_TURKIYE_ILCE_KOY_SEHIR.RDF&P_IL1=67&P_ILCE1=1741&P_KOD=2&P_YIL=2011&P_DIL=1&DESFORMAT=HTML >ARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20130319212703/HTTP://RAPOR.TUIK.GOV.TR/REPORTS/RWSERVLET?ADNKSDB2&ENVID=ADNKSDB2ENV&REPORT=WA_TURKIYE_ILCE_KOY_SEHIR.RDF&P_IL1=67&P_ILCE1=1741&P_KOD=2&P_YIL=2011&P_DIL=1&DESFORMAT=HTML ARCHIVE-DATE=MARCH 19, 2013 PUBLISHER=RAPOR.TUIK.GOV.TR, January 14, 2014, 11align=leftBatumi>Autonomous Republic of Adjara>Adjara190,405HTTP://WWW.BATUMI.GE/EN/ >TITLE=BATUMI CITY HALL WEBSITE ACCESSDATE=AUGUST 10, 2017, {{clear}}


(File:Crimea Laspi Sunset.jpg|thumb|Sunset on the Black Sea at Laspi, Crimea)File:Veleka-sinemorets-mouth-dinev.jpg|thumb|The estuary of the Veleka in the Black Sea. Longshore drift has deposited sediment along the shoreline which has led to the formation of a spit, SinemoretsSinemoretsFile:The Black Sea near Constanţa, Romania.JPG|thumb|The Black Sea near ConstanțaConstanța

Modern names

Current names of the sea are usually equivalents of the English name "Black Sea", including these given in the countries bordering the sea:BOOK,weblink Özhan Öztürk, Karadeniz Ansiklopedik Sözlük, Heyamola Yayınları, İstanbul, 2005, 617–620, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 15, 2012,
  • , {{IPA-all|É‘mʂɨn É›jkÊ·Ê°É‘}}
  • , {{IPA-all|xÉ™ ʃʼəw.tÍ¡sʼa}}
  • , {{IPA-all|ˈt͡ʃɛrno moˈrÉ›}}
  • , {{IPA-all|qÉ‘rÉ‘ deÅ‹iz}}
  • , {{IPA-all|ʃɑvi zÉ£vÉ‘}}
  • Laz and , {{IPA-all|utʃɑ zuɣɑ|IPA}}, or simply , {{IPA-all|zuɣɑ}}, "Sea"
  • , {{IPA-all|ˈmare̯a ˈne̯aÉ¡rÉ™|pron|Ro-Marea Neagră.ogg}}
  • , {{IPA-all|ˈtÉ•ornÉ™jÉ™ ˈmorʲə}}
  • , {{IPA-all|kaˈɾadeniz}}
  • , {{IPA-all|ˈtʃɔrnÉ› ˈmÉ”rÉ›}}
Such names have not yet been shown conclusively to predate the 13th century.{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}}In Greece, the historical name "Euxine Sea", which holds a different meaning (see below), is still widely used:
  • Greek: (); the literal () is less common

Historical names and etymology

The principal Greek name "Póntos Áxeinos" is generally accepted to be a rendering of Iranian word ("dark colored"), compare Avestan ("dark colored"), Old Persian (color of turquoise), Middle Persian / ("blue"), and New Persian ("blue"), as well as Ossetic ("dark gray").{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}} The ancient Greeks, most likely those living to the north of the Black Sea, subsequently adopted the name and altered it to .{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}} Thereafter, Greek tradition refers to the Black Sea as the "Inhospitable Sea", {{transl|grc|ISO|Póntos Áxeinos}}, which is first attested in Pindar ({{circa|475 BC}}).{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}} The name was considered to be "ominous" and was later changed into the euphemistic name "Hospitable sea", {{transl|grc|ISO|Eúxeinos Póntos}}, which was also for the first time attested in Pindar.{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}} This became the commonly used designation for the sea in Greek.{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}} In contexts related to mythology, the older form remained favored.{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}}It has been erroneously suggested that the name was derived from the color of the water, or was at least related to climatic conditions.{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}} Black or dark in this context, however, referred to a system in which colors represent the cardinal points of the known world.{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}} Black or dark represented the north; red the south; white the west; and green or light blue for the east.{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}} The symbolism based on cardinal points was used in multiple occasions and is therefore widely attested.{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}} For example, the "Red Sea", a body of water reported since the time of Herodotus ({{circa|484}}–{{c.|425 BC|lk=no}}) in fact designated the Indian Ocean, together with bodies of water now known as the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}} According to the same explanation and reasoning, it is therefore considered to be impossible for the Scythians, who principally roamed in present-day Ukraine and Russia, to have given the designation because they lived to the north of the sea, which would be therefore be a southern body of water for them.{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}} The name could have only been given by people who were aware of both the northern "black/dark" and southern "red" seas; it is therefore considered probable it was given its name by the Achaemenids (550–330 BC).{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}}Strabo's Geographica (1.2.10) reports that in antiquity, the Black Sea was often simply called "the Sea" ( {{transl|grc|ISO|ho pontos}}). He also thought the Black Sea was called "inhospitable" before Greek colonization because it was difficult to navigate and because its shores were inhabited by savage tribes.(7.3.6) The name was changed to "hospitable" after the Milesians had colonized the Pontus region of the southern shoreline, making it part of Greek civilization.In Greater Bundahishn, a sacred Zoroastrian text written in Middle Persian, the Black Sea is called .WEB,weblink Greater Bundahishn, Peterson, Joseph H.,, July 1, 2017, A 1570 map of Asia titled from Abraham Ortelius's labels the sea ("Great Sea", compare Latin ).{{citation needed|date=September 2018}}English-language writers of the 18th century often used the name Euxine Sea ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|j|uː|k|s|áµ»|n}} or {{IPAc-en|ˈ|j|uː|k|ËŒ|s|aɪ|n}}) to refer to the Black Sea. Edward Gibbon, for instance, calls the sea by this name throughout The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.BOOK, Gibbon, Edward, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Everyman's Library, 1910, 1993, 0-679-42308-7, During the Ottoman Empire period, the Black Sea was called either or , both meaning "the Black Sea" in the Ottoman Turkish.{{citation needed|date=September 2018}}In the tenth-century geography book , which was written in Persian by an unknown author, the Black Sea is called Georgian Sea, Sea of Georgians ().{{citation needed|date=September 2018}} Old Georgian sources of the 9th to 14th centuries, The Georgian Chronicles, used the name (), which means "The Sea of Speri", after the name of the Kartvelian tribe Speris or Saspers, now in Turkey.{{citation needed|date=September 2018}} The modern names of the Black Sea (, , etc.), originated in the 13th century.{{sfn|Schmitt|1989|pages=310–313}}

Geology and bathymetry

File:Судак.jpg|thumb|The bay of SudakSudakThe geological origins of the basin can be traced back to two distinct relict back-arc basins which were initiated by the splitting of an Albian volcanic arc and the subduction of both the Paleo- and Neo-Tethys Oceans, but the timings of these events remain controversial.JOURNAL, 16057188, 1970, McKenzie, DP, Plate tectonics of the Mediterranean region, 226, 5242, 239–43, 10.1038/226239a0, Nature, 1970Natur.226..239M, JOURNAL, McClusky, S., S. Balassanian, 2000, Global Positioning System constraints on plate kinematics and dynamics in the eastern Mediterranean and Caucasus, Journal of Geophysical Research, 105, B3, 5695–5719,weblink 2000JGR...105.5695M, 10.1029/1999JB900351, etal, Since its initiation, compressional tectonic environments led to subsidence in the basin, interspersed with extensional phases resulting in large-scale volcanism and numerous orogenies, causing the uplift of the Greater Caucasus, Pontides, Southern Crimean Peninsula and Balkanides mountain ranges.JOURNAL, 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.10.033, Cenozoic evolution of the eastern Black Sea: A test of depth-dependent stretching models, 2008, Shillington, Donna J., White, Nicky, Minshull, Timothy A., Edwards, Glyn R.H., Jones, Stephen M., Edwards, Rosemary A., Scott, Caroline L., Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 265, 3–4, 360–378, 2008E&PSL.265..360S,weblink The ongoing collision between the Eurasian and African plates and westward escape of the Anatolian block along the North Anatolian Fault and East Anatolian Faults dictates the current tectonic regime, which features enhanced subsidence in the Black Sea basin and significant volcanic activity in the Anatolian region.JOURNAL, 10.1016/S0037-0738(02)00286-5, 2003SedG..156..149N, The Black Sea basin: tectonic history and Neogene–Quaternary rapid subsidence modelling, 2003, Nikishin, A, Sedimentary Geology, 156, 149–168, It is these geological mechanisms which, in the long term, have caused the periodic isolations of the Black Sea from the rest of the global ocean system.The modern basin is divided into two sub-basins by a convexity extending south from the Crimean Peninsula. The large shelf to the north of the basin is up to {{convert|190|km|abbr=on}} wide, and features a shallow apron with gradients between 1:40 and 1:1000. The southern edge around Turkey and the eastern edge around Georgia, however, are typified by a narrow shelf that rarely exceeds {{convert|20|km|abbr=on}} in width and a steep apron that is typically 1:40 gradient with numerous submarine canyons and channel extensions. The Euxine abyssal plain in the centre of the Black Sea reaches a maximum depth of {{convert|2212|m|2|abbr=off}} just south of Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula.BOOK, Remote Sensing of the European Seas, 2008, 1-4020-6771-2,weblink 17, Barale, Vittorio, Gade, Martin, The littoral zone of the Black Sea is often referred to as the Pontic littoral or Pontic zone.BOOK, Prothero, G.W., Anatolia, 1920, H.M. Stationery Office, London,weblink The area surrounding the Black Sea is commonly referred to as the Black Sea Region. Its northern part lies within the Chernozem belt (black soil belt) which goes from eastern Croatia (Slavonia), along the Danube (northern Serbia, northern Bulgaria (Danubian Plain) and southern Romania (Wallachian Plain)) to northeast Ukraine and further across the Central Black Earth Region and southern Russia into Siberia.WEB,weblink Agriculture in the Black Sea Region,, January 14, 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 31, 2013,


File:The Danube Spills into the Black Sea.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|This SeaWiFSSeaWiFSThe Black Sea is a marginal seaDescriptive Physical Oceanography. Talley, Pickard, Emery, Swift. and is the world's largest body of water with a meromictic basin.WEB,weblink Meromictic,, January 14, 2014, The deep waters do not mix with the upper layers of water that receive oxygen from the atmosphere. As a result, over 90% of the deeper Black Sea volume is anoxic water.WEB,weblink Exploring Ancient Mysteries: A Black Sea Journey,, January 14, 2014, The Black Sea's circulation patterns are primarily controlled by basin topography and fluvial inputs, which result in a strongly stratified vertical structure. Because of the extreme stratification, it is classified as a salt wedge estuary.The Black Sea only experiences water transfer with the Mediterranean Sea, so all inflow and outflow occurs in the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Inflow from the Mediterranean has a higher salinity and density than the outflow, creating the classical estuarine circulation. This means that inflow of dense water from the Mediterranean occurs at the bottom of the basin while outflow of fresher Black Sea surface-water into the Marmara Sea occurs near the surface. Fresher surface water is the product of the fluvial inputs, and this makes the Black Sea a positive sea. The net input of freshwater creates an outflow volume about twice that of the inflow. Evaporation and precipitation are roughly equal at about {{convert|300|km3/year|cumi/year}}.Because of the narrowness and shallowness of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles (their respective depths are only 33 and 70 meters), inflow and outflow current speeds are high and there is significant vertical shear. This allows for turbulent mixing of the two layers. Surface water leaves the Black Sea with a salinity of 17 psu and reaches the Mediterranean with a salinity of 34 psu. Likewise, inflow of the Mediterranean with salinity 38.5 psu experiences a decrease to about 34 psu.Mean surface circulation is cyclonic and waters around the perimeter of the Black Sea circulate in a basin-wide shelfbreak gyre known as the Rim Current. The Rim Current has a maximum velocity of about 50–100 cm/s. Within this feature, two smaller cyclonic gyres operate, occupying the eastern and western sectors of the basin. The Eastern and Western Gyres are well-organized systems in the winter but dissipate into a series of interconnected eddies in the summer and autumn. Mesoscale activity in the peripheral flow becomes more pronounced during these warmer seasons and is subject to interannual variability.Outside of the Rim Current, numerous quasi-permanent coastal eddies are formed as a result of upwelling around the coastal apron and "wind curl" mechanisms. The intra-annual strength of these features is controlled by seasonal atmospheric and fluvial variations. During the spring, the Batumi eddy forms in the southeastern corner of the sea.KOROTAEV > FIRST1 = G., Seasonal, interannual, and mesoscale variability of the Black Sea upper layer circulation derived from altimeter data, 10.1029/2002JC001508, Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, 2003, 2003JGRC..108.3122K, Beneath the surface waters—from about 50–100 meters—there exists a halocline that stops at the Cold Intermediate Layer (CIL). This layer is composed of cool, salty surface waters, which are the result of localized atmospheric cooling and decreased fluvial input during the winter months. It is the remnant of the winter surface mixed layer. The base of the CIL is marked by a major pycnocline at about {{convert|100|-|200|m|ft}} and this density disparity is the major mechanism for isolation of the deep water.Below the pycnocline is the Deep Water mass, where salinity increases to 22.3 psu and temperatures rise to around 8.9 Â°C. The hydrochemical environment shifts from oxygenated to anoxic, as bacterial decomposition of sunken biomass utilizes all of the free oxygen. Weak geothermal heating and long residence time create a very thick convective bottom layer.


Because of the anoxic water at depth, organic matter, including anthropogenic artifacts such as boat hulls, are well preserved. During periods of high surface productivity, short-lived algal blooms form organic rich layers known as sapropels. Scientists have reported an annual phytoplankton bloom that can be seen in many NASA images of the region.Black Sea Becomes Turquoise {{webarchive|url= |date=October 28, 2008 }} Retrieved December 2, 2006. As a result of these characteristics the Black Sea has gained interest from the field of marine archaeology as ancient shipwrecks in excellent states of preservation have been discovered, such as the Byzantine wreck Sinop D, located in the anoxic layer off the coast of Sinop, Turkey.Modelling shows the release of the hydrogen sulfide clouds in the event of an asteroid impact into the Black Sea would pose a threat to health—or even life—for people living on the Black Sea coast.JOURNAL, 10.1007/s11069-006-0017-7, Asteroid impact in the Black Sea. Death by drowning or asphyxiation?, 2006, Schuiling, Roelof Dirk, Cathcart, Richard B., Badescu, Viorel, Isvoranu, Dragos, Pelinovsky, Efim, Natural Hazards, 40, 2, 327–338, There have been isolated reports of flares on the Black Sea occurring during thunderstorms, possibly caused by lightning igniting combustible gas seeping up from the sea depths.WEB,weblink Asteroid impact in the Black Sea: tsunami and toxic gas emission,,



{{See also|List of fish of the Black Sea}}File:POTI.JPG|right|thumb|The port of PotiPotiThe Black Sea supports an active and dynamic marine ecosystem, dominated by species suited to the brackish, nutrient-rich, conditions. As with all marine food webs, the Black Sea features a range of trophic groups, with autotrophic algae, including diatoms and dinoflagellates, acting as primary producers. The fluvial systems draining Eurasia and central Europe introduce large volumes of sediment and dissolved nutrients into the Black Sea, but distribution of these nutrients is controlled by the degree of physiochemical stratification, which is, in turn, dictated by seasonal physiographic development.JOURNAL, Oguz, T., H. W. Ducklow, 1999, A physical-biochemical model of plankton productivity and nitrogen cycling in the Black Sea,weblink Deep-Sea Research Part I, 46, 4, 597–636, 10.1016/S0967-0637(98)00074-0, 1999DSRI...46..597O, etal, dead,weblink" title="">weblink April 26, 2012, During winter, strong wind promotes convective overturning and upwelling of nutrients, while high summer temperatures result in a marked vertical stratification and a warm, shallow mixed layer.JOURNAL, Oguz, T., A. Merico, yes, 2006, Factors controlling the summer Emiliania huxleyi bloom in the Black Sea: A modeling study, Journal of Marine Systems, 59, 3–4, 173–188,weblink 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2005.08.002, 2006JMS....59..173O, dead,weblink" title="">weblink April 26, 2012, Day length and insolation intensity also controls the extent of the photic zone. Subsurface productivity is limited by nutrient availability, as the anoxic bottom waters act as a sink for reduced nitrate, in the form of ammonia. The benthic zone also plays an important role in Black Sea nutrient cycling, as chemosynthetic organisms and anoxic geochemical pathways recycle nutrients which can be upwelled to the photic zone, enhancing productivity.JOURNAL, Friedrich, J., C. Dinkel, 2002, Benthic Nutrient Cycling and Diagenetic Pathways in the North-western Black Sea, 10.1006/ecss.2000.0653,weblink Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 54, 3, 369–383, 2002ECSS...54..369F, etal, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 4, 2011, In total, Black Sea's biodiversity contains around one-third of Mediterranean's, and is experiencing natural and artificial invasions or Mediterranizations.Mechanisms impeding natural Mediterranization process of Black Sea fauna (pdf). Retrieved on September 6, 2017Selifonova P.J.. 2011. Ships’ ballast as a Primary Factor for‘Mediterranization’of Pelagic Copepod Fauna (Copepoda) in the Northeastern Black Sea (pdf). Retrieved on September 6, 2017


File:Black Sea Nasa May 25 2004.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|PhytoplanktonPhytoplanktonThe main phytoplankton groups present in the Black Sea are dinoflagellates, diatoms, coccolithophores and cyanobacteria. Generally, the annual cycle of phytoplankton development comprises significant diatom and dinoflagellate-dominated spring production, followed by a weaker mixed assemblage of community development below the seasonal thermocline during summer months and a surface-intensified autumn production.JOURNAL, Eker, E., L. Georgieva, 1999, Phytoplankton distribution in the western and eastern Black Sea in spring and autumn 1995, ICES Journal of Marine Science, 56, 15–22,weblink 10.1006/jmsc.1999.0604, etal, dead,weblink" title="">weblink April 26, 2012, This pattern of productivity is also augmented by an Emiliania huxleyi bloom during the late spring and summer months.

Annual dinoflagellate distribution is defined by an extended bloom period in subsurface waters during the late spring and summer. In November, subsurface plankton production is combined with surface production, due to vertical mixing of water masses and nutrients such as nitrite. The major bloom-forming dinoflagellate species in the Black Sea is Gymnodinium sp.JOURNAL, 10.1016/S0924-7963(03)00031-9, 2003JMS....39..203E, Distribution of phytoplankton in the southern Black Sea in summer 1996, spring and autumn 1998, 2003, Eker-Develi, E, Journal of Marine Systems, 39, 3–4, 203–211, Estimates of dinoflagellate diversity in the Black Sea range from 193Krakhmalny, A. F. (1994). "Dinophyta of the Black Sea (Brief history of investigations and species diversity)." Algologiya 4: 99–107. to 267 species.JOURNAL, Gomez, F., L. Boicenco, yes, 2004, An annotated checklist of dinoflagellates in the Black Sea, Hydrobiologia, 517, 1, 43–59,weblink 10.1023/B:HYDR.0000027336.05452.07, This level of species richness is relatively low in comparison to the Mediterranean Sea, which is attributable to the brackish conditions, low water transparency and presence of anoxic bottom waters. It is also possible that the low winter temperatures below {{convert|4|°C}} of the Black Sea prevent thermophilous species from becoming established. The relatively high organic matter content of Black Sea surface water favour the development of heterotrophic (an organism which uses organic carbon for growth) and mixotrophic dinoflagellates species (able to exploit different trophic pathways), relative to autotrophs. Despite its unique hydrographic setting, there are no confirmed endemic dinoflagellate species in the Black Sea.

The Black Sea is populated by many species of marine diatom, which commonly exist as colonies of unicellular, non-motile auto- and heterotrophic algae. The life-cycle of most diatoms can be described as 'boom and bust' and the Black Sea is no exception, with diatom blooms occurring in surface waters throughout the year, most reliably during March. In simple terms, the phase of rapid population growth in diatoms is caused by the in-wash of silicon-bearing terrestrial sediments, and when the supply of silicon is exhausted, the diatoms begin to sink out of the photic zone and produce resting cysts. Additional factors such as predation by zooplankton and ammonium-based regenerated production also have a role to play in the annual diatom cycle. Typically, blooms during spring and blooms during the autumn.

Coccolithophores are a type of motile, autotrophic phytoplankton that produce CaCO3 plates, known as coccoliths, as part of their life cycle. In the Black Sea, the main period of coccolithophore growth occurs after the bulk of the dinoflagellate growth has taken place. In May, the dinoflagellates move below the seasonal thermocline, into deeper waters, where more nutrients are available. This permits coccolithophores to utilise the nutrients in the upper waters, and by the end of May, with favourable light and temperature conditions, growth rates reach their highest. The major bloom forming species is , which is also responsible for the release of dimethyl sulfide into the atmosphere. Overall, coccolithophore diversity is low in the Black Sea, and although recent sediments are dominated by , , Holocene sediments have also been shown to contain Helicopondosphaera and Discolithina species.

Cyanobacteria are a phylum of picoplanktonic (plankton ranging in size from 0.2 to 2.0 µm) bacteria that obtain their energy via photosynthesis, and are present throughout the world's oceans. They exhibit a range of morphologiies, including filamentous colonies and biofilms. In the Black Sea, several species are present, and as an example, Synechococcus spp. can be found throughout the photic zone, although concentration decreases with increasing depth. Other factors which exert an influence on distribution include nutrient availability, predation and salinity.JOURNAL, Vertical distribution of marine cyanobacteria Synechococcus spp. in the Black, Marmara, Aegean, and eastern Mediterranean seas, 10.1016/j.dsr2.2006.03.016, 2006, Uysal, Z, Deep-Sea Research Part II, 53, 17–19, 1976–1987, 2006DSR....53.1976U,

Animal species

The Black Sea along with the Caspian Sea is part of the Zebra mussel's native range. The mussel has been accidentally introduced around the world and become an invasive species where it has been introduced.

The Common Carp's native range extends to The Black Sea along with the Caspian Sea and Aral Sea. Like the Zebra mussel the Common Carp is an invasive species when introduced to other habitats.

Is another native fish that is also found in the Caspian Sea. It preys upon Zebra mussels. Like the mussels and common carp it has become invasive when introduced to other environments, like the Great Lakes.

Marine mammals present within the basin include two species of dolphins (commonWEB,weblink Delphinus delphis ssp. ponticus (Black Sea Common Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Short-beaked Common Dolphin),, and bottlenoseWEB,weblink Tursiops truncatus ssp. ponticus (Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Bottlenose Dolphin),, ) and harbour porpoiseWEB,weblink Phocoena phocoena ssp. relicta (Black Sea Harbour Porpoise, Harbour Porpoise),, inhabit the sea although all of these are endangered due to pressures and impacts by human activities. All the three species have been classified as a distinct subspecies from those in the Mediterranean and in Atlantic Seas and endemic to Black and Azov Seas, and are more active during nights in Turkish Straits.First stranding record of a Risso's Dolphin (Grampus griseus) in the Marmara Sea, Turkey {{Webarchive|url= |date=October 20, 2017 }} (pdf). Retrieved on September 6, 2017 However, construction of the Crimean Bridge caused increases in nutrients and planktons in the waters, attracting large numbers of fish and more than 1,000 bottlenose dolphins.Goldman E.. 2017. Crimean bridge construction boosts dolphin population in Kerch Strait. The Russia Beyond the Headlines. Retrieved on March 10, 2017 On the other hand, however, others claim that construction may cause devastating damages on ecosystem including dolphins.Reznikova E.. 2017. Крымские стройки убивают все живое на дне моря. Примечания. Новости Севастополя и Крыма. Retrieved on September 29,

Critically endangered Mediterranean monk seals were historically abundant in Black Sea, and are regarded to have become extinct from the basin in 1997.JOURNAL, Karamanlidis, A., Dendrinos, P., Monachus monachus, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2015, e.T13653A45227543, 2015, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T13653A45227543.en, Monk seals were present at the Snake Island until 1950s, and several locations such as the {{interlanguage link|Danube Plavni Nature Reserve|ru|Дунайский биосферный заповедник}} and Doğankent were last of hauling-out sites in post-1990.BOOK,weblink The Black Sea Encyclopedia, 9783642552274, Grinevetsky, Sergei R., Zonn, Igor S., Zhiltsov, Sergei S., Kosarev, Aleksey N., Kostianoy, Andrey G., September 30, 2014, Very few animals still thrive in the Sea of Marmara.JOURNAL, 10.1080/09397140.2014.944438, 60, 3, A new sighting of the Mediterranean Monk Seal,Monachus monachus(Hermann, 1779), in the Marmara Sea (Turkey), Zoology in the Middle East, 278–280, 2014, Emek Inanmaz, Özgür, Değirmenci, Özgür, Gücü, Ali Cemal, Ongoing Mediterranizations may or may not boost in increases of cetacean diversity in Turkish Straits hence in Black and Azov basins. Various species of pinnipeds, sea otter, and beluga whalesJOURNAL, Frantzis A., Alexiadou P., Paximadis G., Politi E., Gannier A., Corsini-Foka M., 2003, Current knowledge of the cetacean fauna of the Greek Seas,weblink pdf, Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, 5, 3, 219–232, April 21, 2016, Anderson R.. 1992. Black Sea Whale Aided By Activists. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on April 21. 2016 were introduced into the Black Sea by mankind and later escaped either by accidental or purported causes. Of these, grey sealJOURNAL,weblink Grey seal Halichoerus grypus in the Black Sea: The first case of long-term survival of an exotic pinniped, E.V., Gladilina, Oleg, Kovtun, Andrey, Kondakov, A.M., Syomik, K.K., Pronin, Pavel, Gol'din, January 1, 2013, Marine Biodiversity Records, 6, ResearchGate, 10.1017/S1755267213000018, and beluga whales have been recorded with successful, long-term occurrences. Great white sharks are known to reach into the Sea of Marmara and Bosphorus Strait and basking shark into Dardanelles although it is unclear whether or not these sharks may reach into the Black and Azov basins.JOURNAL,weblink 10.1017/S1755267214000980, The status of the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) in Turkey's waters, Marine Biodiversity Records, 7, 2014, Kabasakal, Hakan, Cuma. 2009. Çanakkale’de 10 metrelik köpekbalığı!. Retrieved on September 4, 2017
File:Dolphins swim near ferry in port of Batumi 150505-A-PU919-7446.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.2|Common dolphins porpoising with a ferry at BatumiBatumi

Ecological effects of pollution

Since the 1960s, rapid industrial expansion along the Black Sea coast line and the construction of a major dam has significantly increased annual variability in the N:P:Si ratio in the basin. In coastal areas, the biological effect of these changes has been an increase in the frequency of monospecific phytoplankton blooms, with diatom bloom frequency increasing by a factor of 2.5 and non-diatom bloom frequency increasing by a factor of 6. The non-diatoms, such as the prymnesiophytes (coccolithophore), sp., and the Euglenophyte are able to out-compete diatom species because of the limited availability of Si, a necessary constituent of diatom frustules.JOURNAL, Effect of Danube River dam on Black Sea biogeochemistry and ecosystem structure, 10.1038/386385a0, 1997, Humborg, Christoph, Ittekkot, Venugopalan, Cociasu, Adriana, Bodungen, Bodo v., Nature, 386, 6623, 385–388, 1997Natur.386..385H, As a consequence of these blooms, benthic macrophyte populations were deprived of light, while anoxia caused mass mortality in marine animals.JOURNAL, Sburlea, A., L. Boicenco, Aspects of eutrophication as a chemical pollution with implications on marine biota at the Romanian Black Sea shore, 2006, 10.1007/978-1-4020-5098-5_28, Chemicals as Intentional and Accidental Global Environmental Threats, 357–360, NATO Security through Science Series, 978-1-4020-5096-1, etal, JOURNAL, Gregoire, M., C. Raick, Numerical modeling of the central Black Sea ecosystem functioning during the eutrophication phase, 10.1016/j.pocean.2008.01.002, 2008, Progress in Oceanography, 76, 3, 286–333, 2008PrOce..76..286G, etal, The decline in macrophytes was further compounded by overfishing during the 1970s, while the invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis reduced the biomass of copepods and other zooplankton in the late 1980s. Additionally, an alien species—the warty comb jelly ()—was able to establish itself in the basin, exploding from a few individuals to an estimated biomass of one billion metric tons.BOOK, Colin Woodard, Ocean's end: travels through endangered seas,weblink August 1, 2011, February 11, 2001, Basic Books, 978-0-465-01571-9, 1–28, The change in species composition in Black Sea waters also has consequences for hydrochemistry, as Ca-producing coccolithophores influence salinity and pH, although these ramifications have yet to be fully quantified. In central Black Sea waters, Si levels were also significantly reduced, due to a decrease in the flux of Si associated with advection across isopycnal surfaces. This phenomenon demonstrates the potential for localised alterations in Black Sea nutrient input to have basin-wide effects.Pollution reduction and regulation efforts have led to a partial recovery of the Black Sea ecosystem during the 1990s, and an EU monitoring exercise, 'EROS21', revealed decreased N and P values, relative to the 1989 peak.JOURNAL, 10.1006/ecss.2000.0659,weblink Modelling the Danube-influenced North-western Continental Shelf of the Black Sea. II: Ecosystem Response to Changes in Nutrient Delivery by the Danube River after its Damming in 1972, 2002, Lancelot, C, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 54, 3, 473–499, 2002ECSS...54..473L, Recently, scientists have noted signs of ecological recovery, in part due to the construction of new sewage treatment plants in Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria in connection with membership in the European Union. populations have been checked with the arrival of another alien species which feeds on them.Woodard, Colin, "The Black Sea's Cautionary Tale," Congressional Quarterly Global Researcher, October 2007, pp. 244–245File:black sea fauna jelly 01.jpg|JellyfishFile:black sea fauna actinia 01.jpg|ActiniaFile:black sea fauna actinia 02.JPG|ActiniaFile:black sea fauna goby 01.jpg|GobyFile:black sea fauna stingray 01.jpg|StingrayFile:Black sea mullus barbatus ponticus 01.jpg|Goat fishFile:Black sea fauna hermit crab 01.jpg|Hermit crab, Diogenes pugilatorFile:Black sea fauna blue sponge.jpg|Blue spongeFile:Squalus acanthias2.jpg|Spiny dogfishFile:Black Sea fauna Seahorse.JPG|SeahorseFile:Kitesurfer and Dolphins Cropped.jpg|Black Sea Common Dolphins with a kite-surfer off Sochi


File:On the way to Akhun mountain.JPG|thumb|Statues of a man and a tiger, on the way to Mount AkhunMount AkhunIn the past, the range of the Asiatic lion extended from South Asia to the Balkans, possibly up to the Danube. Places like Turkey and the Trans-Caucasus were in this range. The Caspian tiger occurred in eastern Turkey and the Caucasus, at least. The lyuti zver (Old East Slavic for "fierce animal") that was encountered by Vladimir II Monomakh, Velikiy Kniaz of Kievan Rus' (which ranged to the Black Sea in the south),WEB, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 1988, 2, Kyivan Rus’, Encyclopedia of Ukraine,weblink March 29, 2016, may have been a tiger or leopard, rather than a wolf or lynx, due to the way it behaved towards him and his horse.Geptner, V. G., Sludskij, A. A. (1972). Mlekopitajuščie Sovetskogo Soiuza. Vysšaia Škola, Moskva. (In Russian; English translation: Heptner, V.G., Sludskii, A. A., Komarov, A., Komorov, N.; Hoffmann, R. S. (1992). Mammals of the Soviet Union. Vol III: Carnivores (Feloidea). Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation, Washington DC).


File:Ice on the Gulf of Odessa.jpg|thumb|Ice on the Gulf of OdessaGulf of OdessaShort-term climatic variation in the Black Sea region is significantly influenced by the operation of the North Atlantic oscillation, the climatic mechanisms resulting from the interaction between the north Atlantic and mid-latitude air masses.JOURNAL, 10.1126/science.269.5224.676, Decadal Trends in the North Atlantic Oscillation: Regional Temperatures and Precipitation, 1995, Hurrell, J. W., Science, 269, 5224, 676–679, 17758812, 1995Sci...269..676H, While the exact mechanisms causing the North Atlantic Oscillation remain unclear,JOURNAL, Lamy, F., Arz, H. W., Bond, G. C., Barh, A. and Pätzold, J., 2006, Multicentennial-scale hydrological changes in the Black Sea and northern Red Sea during the Holocene and the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation, 10.1029/2005PA001184,weblink Paleoceanography, 21, n/a, 2006PalOc..21.1008L, dead,weblink" title="">weblink April 15, 2012, it is thought the climate conditions established in western Europe mediate the heat and precipitation fluxes reaching Central Europe and Eurasia, regulating the formation of winter cyclones, which are largely responsible for regional precipitation inputsJOURNAL, 1996IJCli..16.1057T, 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0088(199609)16:93.3.CO;2-4, Spatial and temporal analysis of annual rainfall variations in Turkey, 16, 9, International Journal of Climatology, 1057–1076, 1996, Türkeş, Murat, and influence Mediterranean Sea Surface Temperatures (SST's).JOURNAL, Cullen, H. M., A. Kaplan, 2002, Impact of the North Atlantic Oscillation on Middle Eastern climate and streamflow,weblink Climatic Change, 55, 3, 315–338, 10.1023/A:1020518305517, etal, The relative strength of these systems also limits the amount of cold air arriving from northern regions during winter.JOURNAL, 10.1016/S0012-8252(97)81859-4, Ozsoy, E., U. Unluata, yes, 1997, Oceanography of the Black Sea: A review of some recent results, Earth-Science Reviews, 42, 4, 231–272, 1997ESRv...42..231O, Other influencing factors include the regional topography, as depressions and storms systems arriving from the Mediterranean are funneled through the low land around the Bosphorus, Pontic and Caucasus mountain ranges acting as wave guides, limiting the speed and paths of cyclones passing through the region.Brody, L. R., Nestor, M.J.R. (1980). Regional Forecasting Aids for the Mediterranean Basin. Handbook for Forecasters in the Mediterranean, Naval Research Laboratory. Part 2.


{{unreferenced section|date=January 2018}}There are some islands in the Black sea that belong to Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine:
  • St. Thomas Island – Bulgaria
  • St. Anastasia Island – Bulgaria
  • St. Cyricus Island – Bulgaria
  • St. Ivan Island – Bulgaria
  • St. Peter Island – Bulgaria
  • Sacalinu Mare Island – Romania
  • Sacalinu Mic Island – Romania
  • Musura / Novaya Zemliya – Romania and Ukraine
  • Utrish Island
  • Krupinin Island
  • Sudiuk Island
  • Kefken Island
  • Oreke Island
  • Giresun Island
  • Dzharylgach Island – Ukraine
  • Zmiinyi (Snake) Island – Ukraine


Mediterranean connection during the Holocene

File:Istanbul and Bosporus big.jpg|thumb|right|upright|The Bosphorus, taken from the International Space StationInternational Space StationFile:Dardanelles map2.png|thumb|upright=1.35|Map of the DardanellesDardanellesThe Black Sea is connected to the World Ocean by a chain of two shallow straits, the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. The Dardanelles is {{convert|55|m|abbr=on}} deep and the Bosphorus is as shallow as {{convert|36|m|abbr=on}}. By comparison, at the height of the last ice age, sea levels were more than {{convert|100|m|abbr=on}} lower than they are now.There is also evidence that water levels in the Black Sea were considerably lower at some point during the post-glacial period. Some researchers theorize that the Black Sea had been a landlocked freshwater lake (at least in upper layers) during the last glaciation and for some time after.In the aftermath of the last glacial period, water levels in the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea rose independently until they were high enough to exchange water. The exact timeline of this development is still subject to debate. One possibility is that the Black Sea filled first, with excess fresh water flowing over the Bosphorus sill and eventually into the Mediterranean Sea. There are also catastrophic scenarios, such as the "Black Sea deluge theory" put forward by William Ryan, Walter Pitman and (:bg:Петко Димитров|Petko Dimitrov).

Deluge hypothesis

The Black Sea deluge is a hypothesized catastrophic rise in the level of the Black Sea circa 5600 BC due to waters from the Mediterranean Sea breaching a sill in the Bosporus Strait. The hypothesis was headlined when The New York Times published it in December 1996, shortly before it was published in an academic journal.NEWS, John Noble, Wilford, Geologists Link Black Sea Deluge To Farming's Rise, The New York Times, December 17, 1996, June 17, 2013,weblink While it is agreed that the sequence of events described did occur, there is debate over the suddenness, dating and magnitude of the events. Relevant to the hypothesis is that its description has led some to connect this catastrophe with prehistoric flood myths.BOOK, William Ryan, Walter Pitman, yes, Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event That Changed History, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York, 1998, 0-684-85920-3,weblink

Recorded history

File:Diego-homem-black-sea-ancient-map-1559.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|left|A medieval map of the Black Sea by Diogo HomemDiogo Homem(File:Greek colonies of the Euxine Sea.svg|thumb|upright=1.35|Greek colonies (8th–3rd century BCE) of the Black Sea (Euxine, or "hospitable" sea).)The Black Sea was a busy waterway on the crossroads of the ancient world: the Balkans to the west, the Eurasian steppes to the north, Caucasus and Central Asia to the east, Asia Minor and Mesopotamia to the south, and Greece to the south-west.The oldest processed gold in the world was found in Varna, Bulgaria, and the Black Sea was supposedly sailed by the Argonauts. The land at the eastern end of the Black Sea, Colchis, (now Georgia), marked for the Greeks the edge of the known world.The steppes to the north of the Black Sea have been suggested as the original homeland () of the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language, (PIE) the progenitor of the Indo-European language family, by some scholars such as Marija Gimbutas; others move the heartland further east towards the Caspian Sea, yet others to Anatolia.The Black Sea became an Ottoman Navy lake within five years of Genoa losing the Crimean Peninsula in 1479, after which the only Western merchant vessels to sail its waters were those of Venice's old rival Ragusa. This restriction was gradually changed by the Russian Navy from 1783 until the relaxation of export controls in 1789 because of the French Revolution.BOOK, The Venetian Empire 1200–1670, 17, David Nicolle, Osprey Publishing, 1989, 978-0-85045-899-2, BOOK, Economic Life in Ottoman Europe: Taxation, Trade and the Struggle for Land, 1600–1800, Studies in Modern Capitalism, 134, Bruce McGowan, 978-0-521-13536-8, The Black Sea was a significant naval theatre of World War I and saw both naval and land battles during World War II.


File:Aivazovsky - Black Sea Fleet in the Bay of Theodosia.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|Ivan Aivazovsky. Black Sea Fleet in the Bay of Theodosia, just before the Crimean WarCrimean WarAncient trade routes in the region are currently{{when|date=March 2015}} being extensively studied by scientists, as the Black Sea was sailed by Hittites, Carians, Colchians, Thracians, Greeks, Persians, Cimmerians, Scythians, Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Huns, Avars, Slavs, Varangians, Crusaders, Venetians, Genoese, Georgians, Tatars and Ottomans.Perhaps the most promising areas in deepwater archaeology are the quest for submerged prehistoric settlements in the continental shelf and for ancient shipwrecks in the anoxic zone, which are expected to be exceptionally well preserved due to the absence of oxygen. This concentration of historical powers, combined with the preservative qualities of the deep anoxic waters of the Black Sea, has attracted increased interest from marine archaeologists who have begun to discover a large number of ancient ships and organic remains in a high state of preservation.

Modern use

File:Widok na Jałtę ze statku 06.JPG|thumb|YaltaYaltaFile:Amasra, Bartın, Turkey.jpg|thumb|AmasraAmasra

Commercial and civic use

According to NATO, the Black sea is a strategic corridor that provides smuggling channels for moving legal and illegal goods including drugs, radioactive materials, and counterfeit goods that can be used to finance terrorism.NEWS,weblink Black Sea Security, NATO Advanced Research Workshop, 2010, December 31, 2010, NATO,


Ports and ferry terminals

According to the International Transport Workers' Federation 2013 study, there were at least 30 operating merchant seaports in the Black Sea (including at least 12 in Ukraine).NEWS,weblink Черное море признано одним из самых неблагоприятных мест для моряков, International Transport Workers' Federation, May 27, 2013, September 20, 2013, BlackSeaNews,

Merchant fleet and traffic

According to the International Transport Workers' Federation 2013 study, there were around 2,400 commercial vessels operating in the Black Sea.


Anchovy: the Turkish commercial fishing fleet catches around 300,000 tons per year on average, and fishery carried out mainly in winter and the highest portion of the stock is caught between November and December.Turkish Black Sea Acoustic Surveys: Winter distribution of anchovy along the Turkish coast Serdar SAKINAN. Middle East Technical University – Institute of Marine Sciences

Hydrocarbons exploration

Since the 1980s, the Soviet Union started offshore drilling for petroleum in the sea's western portion (adjoining Ukraine's coast). The independent Ukraine continued and intensified that effort within its exclusive economic zone, inviting major international oil companies for exploration. Discovery of the new, massive oilfields in the area stimulated an influx of foreign investments. It also provoked a short-term peaceful territorial dispute with Romania which was resolved in 2011 by an international court redefining the exclusive economic zones between the two countries.

Holiday resorts and spas

(File:Cities of the Black Sea.png|thumb|upright=1.6|Cities of the Black Sea)In the years following the end of the Cold War, the popularity of the Black Sea as a tourist destination steadily increased. Tourism at Black Sea resorts became one of the region's growth industries.WEB,weblink Bulgarian Sea Resorts, February 2, 2007, The following is a list of notable Black Sea resort towns:{{div col}} {{div col end}}File:USS Yorktown collision.jpg|thumb|Soviet frigate Bezzavetny (right) bumping the USS Yorktown during the 1988 Black Sea bumping incident1988 Black Sea bumping incidentFile:Boat U170 Skadovsk 2012 G1.jpg|thumb|Ukrainian Navy artillery boat U170 in the Bay of SevastopolBay of Sevastopol

Modern military use

International and military use of the Straits

The 1936 Montreux Convention provides for a free passage of civilian ships between the international waters of the Black and the Mediterranean Seas. However, a single country (Turkey) has a complete control over the straits connecting the two seas. Military ships are separate category from civilian ships and they can only pass through the straits if the ship is belonging to a Black Sea power. Other military ships have the right to pass through the straits if they are not in war against Turkey and they can stay in the Black Sea basin for a limited period of time. The 1982 amendments to the Montreux Convention allow Turkey to close the Straits at its discretion in both wartime and peacetime.WEB,weblink Montreaux and The Bosphorus Problem, tr, The 1936 Montreux Convention governs the passage of vessels between the Black, the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and the presence of military vessels belonging to non-littoral states in the Black Sea waters.WEB,weblink Montreaux Convention and Turkey (pdf), PDF, dead,weblink" title="">weblink March 19, 2013, In December 2018, the Kerch Strait incident took place. The Russian Navy and Coast guard took control of three ships belonging to their counterparts. The ships were trying to enter the Black SeaWEB,weblink Ukraine's ports partially unblocked by Russia, says Kiev, Associated, Press, December 4, 2018,,

Trans-sea cooperation

See also


Informational notes





  • BOOK, 10.1017/9781108399722.010, The Black Sea, Oceanic Histories, 234–266, 2017, Ghervas, Stella, Armitage, D., Bashford, S.,weblinkweblink Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 978-1-1083-9972-2,
  • Stella Ghervas, "Odessa et les confins de l'Europe: un éclairage historique", in Stella Ghervas et François Rosset (ed), Lieux d'Europe. Mythes et limites (Paris: Editions de la Maison des sciences de l'homme, 2008), pp. 107–124. {{ISBN|978-2-7351-1182-4}}
  • Charles King, The Black Sea: A History, 2004, {{ISBN|0-19-924161-9}}
  • William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Noah's Flood, 1999, {{ISBN|0-684-85920-3}}
  • Neal Ascherson, Black Sea (Vintage 1996), {{ISBN|0-09-959371-8}}
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, BLACK SEA, Schmitt, Rüdiger,weblink Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. IV, Fasc. 3, 310–313, 1989, harv, Black Sea – Encyclopaedia Iranica,
  • Rüdiger Schmitt, "Considerations on the Name of the Black Sea", in: Hellas und der griechische Osten (Saarbrücken 1996), pp. 219–224
  • BOOK, West, Stephanie, 'The Most Marvellous of All Seas': the Greek Encounter with the Euxine, Greece & Rome, 50, 2, 2003, 151–167,
  • BOOK,weblink Petko Dimitrov, Dimitar Dimitrov, The Black Sea, the Flood and the Ancient Myths, Varna, 2004, 978-954-579-335-6, 91,
  • Dimitrov, D. 2010. Geology and Non-traditional resources of the Black Sea. LAP Lambert Academic Publishing. {{ISBN|978-3-8383-8639-3}}. 244p.

External links

{{commons category|Black Sea}}{{Wikivoyage|Black Sea}} {{List of seas}}{{Marginal seas of the Atlantic Ocean}}{{Countries bordering the Black Sea}}{{Georgia (country) topics}}{{Authority control}}

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