Black Sea

Black Sea

Overview
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 and the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 via the Mediterranean and the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 seas and various strait
Strait
A strait or straits is a narrow, typically navigable channel of water that connects two larger, navigable bodies of water. It most commonly refers to a channel of water that lies between two land masses, but it may also refer to a navigable channel through a body of water that is otherwise not...

s. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara
Sea of Marmara
The Sea of Marmara , also known as the Sea of Marmora or the Marmara Sea, and in the context of classical antiquity as the Propontis , is the inland sea that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating Turkey's Asian and European parts. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Black...

, and the strait of the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

 connects that sea to the Aegean Sea region of the Mediterranean. These waters separate eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and western Asia. The Black Sea is also connected to the Sea of Azov
Sea of Azov
The Sea of Azov , known in Classical Antiquity as Lake Maeotis, is a sea on the south of Eastern Europe. It is linked by the narrow Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south and is bounded on the north by Ukraine mainland, on the east by Russia, and on the west by the Ukraine's Crimean...

 by the Strait of Kerch
Strait of Kerch
The Kerch Strait connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, separating the Kerch Peninsula in the west from the Taman Peninsula in the east. The strait is to wide and up to deep....

.

The Black Sea has an area of 436400 km² (168,495 sq mi) (not including the Sea of Azov), a maximum depth of 2212 m (7,257 ft), and a volume of 547000 km³ (131,232.3 cu mi).
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Unanswered Questions
Timeline

1919   Mustafa Kemal Atatürk lands at Samsun on the Anatolian Black Sea coast, initiating what is later termed the Turkish War of Independence. The anniversary of this event is also regarded as a date of remembrance for Pontic Greeks on the Greek genocide.

1986   The Soviet passenger liner {{Ship||Admiral Nakhimov|ship|6}} sinks in the Black Sea after colliding with the bulk carrier ''Pyotr Vasev'', killing 423.

2001   Siberia Airlines Flight 1812: a Sibir Airlines Tupolev TU-154 crashes into the Black Sea after being struck by an errant Ukrainian S-200 missile. 78 people are killed.

2006   Armavia Flight 967 crashes into the Black Sea, killing 113 people on board, with no survivors.

 
Encyclopedia
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 and the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 via the Mediterranean and the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 seas and various strait
Strait
A strait or straits is a narrow, typically navigable channel of water that connects two larger, navigable bodies of water. It most commonly refers to a channel of water that lies between two land masses, but it may also refer to a navigable channel through a body of water that is otherwise not...

s. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara
Sea of Marmara
The Sea of Marmara , also known as the Sea of Marmora or the Marmara Sea, and in the context of classical antiquity as the Propontis , is the inland sea that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating Turkey's Asian and European parts. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Black...

, and the strait of the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

 connects that sea to the Aegean Sea region of the Mediterranean. These waters separate eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and western Asia. The Black Sea is also connected to the Sea of Azov
Sea of Azov
The Sea of Azov , known in Classical Antiquity as Lake Maeotis, is a sea on the south of Eastern Europe. It is linked by the narrow Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south and is bounded on the north by Ukraine mainland, on the east by Russia, and on the west by the Ukraine's Crimean...

 by the Strait of Kerch
Strait of Kerch
The Kerch Strait connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, separating the Kerch Peninsula in the west from the Taman Peninsula in the east. The strait is to wide and up to deep....

.

The Black Sea has an area of 436400 km² (168,495 sq mi) (not including the Sea of Azov), a maximum depth of 2212 m (7,257 ft), and a volume of 547000 km³ (131,232.3 cu mi). The Black Sea forms in an east-west trending elliptical depression which lies between Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

. It is constrained by the Pontic Mountains
Pontic Mountains
The Pontic Mountains form a mountain range in Northern Turkey, also known as the Parhar mountains in the local Turkish and Pontic Greek languages. The term "Parhar" originates from the Hittite word meaning "high" or "summit"....

 to the south, the Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

 to the east and features a wide shelf to the northwest. The longest east-west extent is about 1,175 km.

Important cities along the coast include Batumi
Batumi
Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia's second capital, with a population of 121,806 , Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in...

, Burgas
Burgas
-History:During the rule of the Ancient Romans, near Burgas, Debeltum was established as a military colony for veterans by Vespasian. In the Middle Ages, a small fortress called Pyrgos was erected where Burgas is today and was most probably used as a watchtower...

, Constanța
Constanta
Constanța is the oldest extant city in Romania, founded around 600 BC. The city is located in the Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of Constanța County and the largest city in the region....

, Giresun
Giresun
Giresun is the provincial capital of Giresun Province in the Black Sea Region of northeastern Turkey, about west of the city of Trabzon.-Etymology:...

, Hopa
Hopa
Hopa is a city and district of Artvin Province in northeast Turkey. It is located on the eastern Turkish Black Sea coast about from the city of Artvin and 18 kilometres from the border with Georgia.-Geography:...

, Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, Kerch
Kerch
Kerch is a city on the Kerch Peninsula of eastern Crimea, an important industrial, transport and tourist centre of Ukraine. Kerch, founded 2600 years ago, is considered as one of the most ancient cities in Ukraine.-Ancient times:...

, Kherson
Kherson
Kherson is a city in southern Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Kherson Oblast , and is designated as its own separate raion within the oblast. Kherson is an important port on the Black Sea and Dnieper River, and the home of a major ship-building industry...

, Mangalia
Mangalia
Mangalia , is a city and a port on the coast of the Black Sea in the south-east of Constanţa County, Romania.The municipality of Mangalia also administers several summer time seaside resorts: Cap Aurora, Jupiter, Neptun, Olimp, Saturn, Venus.-History:...

, Năvodari
Navodari
Năvodari is a town in Constanţa County, region of Dobrogea, Romania, with a population of 32,400.-History:The settlement was mentioned for the first time in 1421 under the name Kara Koyun , to be renamed later on Karaköy or Carachioi...

, Novorossiysk
Novorossiysk
Novorossiysk is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia. It is the country's main port on the Black Sea and the leading Russian port for importing grain. It is one of the few cities honored with the title of the Hero City. Population: -History:...

, Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

, Ordu
Ordu
Ordu 'army') is a port city on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, and the capital of Ordu Province. Estimated population c. 2010: 141,341.-Etymology:...

, Poti
Poti
Poti is a port city in Georgia, located on the eastern Black Sea coast in the region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti in the west of the country. Built near the site of the ancient Greek colony of Phasis, the city has become a major port city and industrial center since the early 20th century. It is also...

, Rize
Rize
Rize is the capital of Rize Province, in northeast Turkey, on the Black Sea coast.-Etymology:The name comes from Greek or Ριζαίον , meaning "mountain slopes". In modern times, its name in Greek was usually Ριζούντα . Its Latin forms are Rhizus and Rhizaeum...

, Samsun
Samsun
Samsun is a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey. It is the provincial capital of Samsun Province and a major Black Sea port.-Name:...

, Sevastopol
Sevastopol
Sevastopol is a city on rights of administrative division of Ukraine, located on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea peninsula. It has a population of 342,451 . Sevastopol is the second largest port in Ukraine, after the Port of Odessa....

, Sochi
Sochi
Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

, Sukhumi
Sukhumi
Sukhumi is the capital of Abkhazia, a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. The city suffered heavily during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict in the early 1990s.-Naming:...

, Trabzon
Trabzon
Trabzon is a city on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road, became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Iran in the southeast and the Caucasus to the northeast...

, Varna
Varna
Varna is the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and third-largest in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv, with a population of 334,870 inhabitants according to Census 2011...

, Yalta
Yalta
Yalta is a city in Crimea, southern Ukraine, on the north coast of the Black Sea.The city is located on the site of an ancient Greek colony, said to have been founded by Greek sailors who were looking for a safe shore on which to land. It is situated on a deep bay facing south towards the Black...

 and Zonguldak
Zonguldak
Zonguldak is a city and the capital of Zonguldak Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey. Its population, according to the 2009 census, was 108,792. It is an important port on the Black Sea because of the coal mining in Zonguldak Province...

.

The Black Sea has a positive water balance
Water balance
In hydrology, a water balance equation can be used to describe the flow of water in and out of a system. A system can be one of several hydrological domains, such as a column of soil or a drainage basin....

; that is, a net outflow of water 300 km3 per year through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles into the Aegean Sea. Mediterranean water flows into the Black Sea as part of a two-way hydrological exchange. The Black Sea outflow is cooler and less saline
Saline water
Saline water is a general term for water that contains a significant concentration of dissolved salts . The concentration is usually expressed in parts per million of salt....

, and floats over the warm, more saline Mediterranean inflow -because of density difference due to salinity-, leading to a significant anoxic layer well below the surface waters. The Black Sea also receives river water from large Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

n fluvial
Fluvial
Fluvial is used in geography and Earth science to refer to the processes associated with rivers and streams and the deposits and landforms created by them...

 systems to the north of the Sea, of which the Don
Don River (Russia)
The Don River is one of the major rivers of Russia. It rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres southeast from Tula, southeast of Moscow, and flows for a distance of about 1,950 kilometres to the Sea of Azov....

, Dnieper and Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 are the most significant.

In the past, the water level has varied significantly. Due to these variations in the water level in the basin the surrounding shelf and associated aprons have sometimes been 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
Turkish Straits
The term Turkish Straits refers to the two narrow straits in northwestern Turkey, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, that connect the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea on one side and the Aegean arm of the Mediterranean Sea on the other. They are conventionally considered the boundary between the...

, that the Black Sea joins the world ocean
World Ocean
The World Ocean, world ocean, or global ocean, is the interconnected system of the Earth's oceanic waters, and comprises the bulk of the hydrosphere, covering almost 71% of the Earth's surface, with a total volume of 1.332 billion cubic kilometres.The unity and continuity of the World Ocean, with...

. When this hydrological link is not present, the Black Sea is a lake
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

, operating independently of the global ocean system. Currently the Black Sea water level is relatively high, thus water is being exchanged with the Mediterranean. The Turkish Straits connect the Black and Aegean Seas and comprise the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles.

Extent


The International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization
The International Hydrographic Organization is the inter-governmental organisation representing the hydrographic community. It enjoys observer status at the UN and is the recognised competent authority on hydrographic surveying and nautical charting...

 defines the limits of the Black Sea as follows:

On the Southwest. The Northeastern limit of the Sea of Marmara
Sea of Marmara
The Sea of Marmara , also known as the Sea of Marmora or the Marmara Sea, and in the context of classical antiquity as the Propontis , is the inland sea that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating Turkey's Asian and European parts. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Black...

 [A line joining Cape Rumili with Cape Anatoli (41°13'N)].

In the Kertch Strait

Strait of Kerch
The Kerch Strait connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, separating the Kerch Peninsula in the west from the Taman Peninsula in the east. The strait is to wide and up to deep....

.
A line joining Cape Takil and Cape Panaghia (45°02'N).

Modern names



Current names of the Sea are equivalents of the English name, "Black Sea", including:
  • Abkhaz
    Abkhaz language
    Abkhaz is a Northwest Caucasian language spoken mainly by the Abkhaz people. It is the official language of Abkhazia where around 100,000 people speak it. Furthermore, it is spoken by thousands of members of the Abkhazian diaspora in Turkey, Georgia's autonomous republic of Adjara, Syria, Jordan...

    : Amshyn Eikʷa (Амшын Еиқәа) (Хы ШӀуцӀ)
  • Greek
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

    : Mavri Thalassa (Μαύρη Θάλασσα, ˈmavri ˈθalasa)
  • Bulgarian
    Bulgarian language
    Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

    : Cherno more (Черно море)
  • Georgian
    Georgian language
    Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

    : Shavi zghva (შავი ზღვა)
  • Laz
    Laz language
    The Laz language is a South Caucasian language spoken by the Laz people on the Southeast shore of the Black Sea...

    : Ucha zuğa (უჩა ზუღა), or simply Zuğa 'Sea' ˈmare̯a ˈne̯aɡrə
  • Russian
    Russian language
    Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

    : Chornoye more (Чёрное море)
  • Turkish
    Turkish language
    Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

    : Karadeniz kaˈɾadeniz
  • Ukrainian
    Ukrainian language
    Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

    : Chorne more (Чорне море)
  • Ubykh
    Ubykh language
    Ubykh or Ubyx is an extinct language of the Northwestern Caucasian group, spoken by the Ubykh people...

    : ʃʷad͡ʒa


Such names have not yet been shown conclusively to predate the twelfth century, but there are indications that they may be considerably older.


The Black Sea is one of four seas named in English after common color terms — the others being the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

, the White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

 and the Yellow Sea
Yellow Sea
The Yellow Sea is the name given to the northern part of the East China Sea, which is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It is located between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula. Its name comes from the sand particles from Gobi Desert sand storms that turn the surface of the water golden...

.

Historical names


Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

's Geography (1.2.10) reports that in antiquity, the Black Sea was often just called "the Sea" (ho pontos). For the most part, Graeco-Roman tradition refers to the Black Sea as the 'Hospitable sea', Euxeinos Pontos . This is a euphemism
Euphemism
A euphemism is the substitution of a mild, inoffensive, relatively uncontroversial phrase for another more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience...

 replacing an earlier 'Inhospitable Sea', Pontos Axeinos, first attested in Pindar
Pindar
Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

 (early fifth century BCE,~475 BC). Strabo (7.3.6) thinks that the Black Sea was called "inhospitable" before Greek colonization because it was difficult to navigate, and because its shores were inhabited by savage tribes. The name was changed to "hospitable" after the Milesians
Milesians (Greek)
The Milesians of Hellenic civilization were the inhabitants of Miletus, a city in the Anatolia province of modern-day Turkey, near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and at the mouth of the Meander River. Settlers from Crete moved to Miletus sometime in 16th century BC...

 had colonized the southern shoreline, the Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

, making it part of Greek civilization.

It is also possible that the name Axeinos arose by popular etymology from a Scythian Iranic
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 axšaina- 'unlit,' 'dark'; the designation "Black Sea" may thus date from Antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

.

A map of Asia dating to 1570, entitled Asiae Nova Descriptio, from Ortelis's Theatrum labels the sea "Mar Maggior."

English-language writers of the 18th century often used the name "Euxine Sea" to describe the Black Sea. Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

, for instance, calls the sea by this name throughout The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a non-fiction history book written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788–89...

.

Geology and bathymetry


The 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
Albian
The Albian is both an age of the geologic timescale and a stage in the stratigraphic column. It is the youngest or uppermost subdivision of the Early/Lower Cretaceous epoch/series. Its approximate time range is 112.0 ± 1.0 Ma to 99.6 ± 0.9 Ma...

 volcanic arc
Volcanic arc
A volcanic arc is a chain of volcanoes positioned in an arc shape as seen from above. Offshore volcanoes form islands, resulting in a volcanic island arc. Generally they result from the subduction of an oceanic tectonic plate under another tectonic plate, and often parallel an oceanic trench...

 and the subduction
Subduction
In geology, subduction is the process that takes place at convergent boundaries by which one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate, sinking into the Earth's mantle, as the plates converge. These 3D regions of mantle downwellings are known as "Subduction Zones"...

 of both the Paleo
Paleo-Tethys Ocean
The Paleo-Tethys Ocean was an ancient Paleozoic ocean. It was located between the paleocontinent Gondwana and the so called Hunic terranes. These are divided into the European Hunic and Asiatic Hunic...

-and Neo-Tethys
Tethys Ocean
The Tethys Ocean was an ocean that existed between the continents of Gondwana and Laurasia during the Mesozoic era before the opening of the Indian Ocean.-Modern theory:...

 Oceans, but the timings of these events remain controversial. Since its initiation, compressional tectonic environments led to subsidence
Subsidence
Subsidence is the motion of a surface as it shifts downward relative to a datum such as sea-level. The opposite of subsidence is uplift, which results in an increase in elevation...

 in the basin, interspersed with extensional phases resulting in large-scale volcanism
Volcanism
Volcanism is the phenomenon connected with volcanoes and volcanic activity. It includes all phenomena resulting from and causing magma within the crust or mantle of a planet to rise through the crust and form volcanic rocks on the surface....

 and numerous orogenies
Orogeny
Orogeny refers to forces and events leading to a severe structural deformation of the Earth's crust due to the engagement of tectonic plates. Response to such engagement results in the formation of long tracts of highly deformed rock called orogens or orogenic belts...

, causing the uplift of the Greater Caucasus
Greater Caucasus
Greater Caucasus , sometimes translated as "Caucasus Major", "Big Caucasus" or "Large Caucasus") is the major mountain range of the Caucasus Mountains....

, Pontides, Southern Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

 and Balkanides mountain ranges. The ongoing collision between the Eurasian
Eurasian Plate
The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate which includes most of the continent of Eurasia , with the notable exceptions of the Indian subcontinent, the Arabian subcontinent, and the area east of the Chersky Range in East Siberia...

 and African
African Plate
The African Plate is a tectonic plate which includes the continent of Africa, as well as oceanic crust which lies between the continent and various surrounding ocean ridges.-Boundaries:...

 plates and westward escape of the Anatolian
Anatolian Plate
The Anatolian Plate is a continental tectonic plate consisting primarily of the country of Turkey.The easterly side is a boundary with the Arabian Plate, the East Anatolian Fault, a left lateral transform fault....

 block along the North Anatolian Fault
North Anatolian Fault
The North Anatolian Fault is a major active right lateral-moving strike-slip fault in northern Anatolia which runs along the transform boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the Anatolian Plate. The fault extends westward from a junction with the East Anatolian Fault at the Karliova Triple...

 and East Anatolian Fault
East Anatolian Fault
The East Anatolian Fault is a major strike-slip fault zone in eastern Turkey. It forms the transform type tectonic boundary between the Anatolian Plate and the northward-moving Arabian Plate. The difference in the relative motions of the two plates is manifest in the left lateral motion along the...

s dictates the current tectonic regime, which features enhanced subsidence in the Black Sea basin and significant volcanic activity in the Anatolian region. 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 190 km wide, and features a shallow apron with gradients between 1:40 and 1:1000. The southern edge around Turkey and the western edge around Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, however, are typified by a narrow shelf that rarely exceeds 20 km in width and a steep apron that is typically 1:40 gradient with numerous submarine canyons and channel extensions. The Euxine abyssal plain
Euxine abyssal plain
The Euxine abyssal plain is a physiographic province of the Black Sea, an abyssal plain in its central parts. Its name comes from the Ancient Greek name Euxeinos Pontos of the Black Sea....

 in the centre of the Black Sea reaches a maximum depth of 2212 m (7,257.22 ft) just south of Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula.

The littoral zone of the Black Sea is often referred to as the Pontic littoral.

Hydrology and hydrochemistry


The Black Sea is the world’s largest meromictic
Meromictic
A meromictic lake has layers of water that do not intermix. In ordinary, "holomictic" lakes, at least once each year there is a physical mixing of the surface and the deep waters...

 basin where the deep waters do not mix with the upper layers of water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 that receive oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 from the atmosphere. As a result, over 90% of the deeper Black Sea volume is anoxic water
Anoxic sea water
Anoxic waters are areas of sea water or fresh water that are depleted of dissolved oxygen. This condition is generally found in areas that have restricted water exchange....

. The current hydrochemical configuration is primarily controlled by basin topography and fluvial
Fluvial
Fluvial is used in geography and Earth science to refer to the processes associated with rivers and streams and the deposits and landforms created by them...

 inputs, which result in a strongly stratified vertical structure and a positive water balance. The upper layers are generally cooler, less dense and less salty than the deeper waters, as they are fed by large fluvial systems, whereas the deep waters originate from the warm, salty waters of the Mediterranean. This influx of dense water from Mediterranean is balanced by an outflow of fresher Black Sea surface-water into the Marmara Sea, maintaining the stratification and salinity
Salinity
Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of water. It is a general term used to describe the levels of different salts such as sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium sulfates, and bicarbonates...

 levels.

The surface water has an average salinity of 18 to 18.5 parts per thousand (compared to 30 to 40 for the oceans) and contains oxygen and other nutrients required to sustain biotic activity. These waters circulate in a basin-wide cyclonic shelfbreak gyre
Gyre
A gyre in oceanography is any large system of rotating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements. Gyres are caused by the Coriolis Effect; planetary vorticity along with horizontal and vertical friction, which determine the circulation patterns from the wind curl...

 known as the Rim Current which transports water round the perimeter of the Black Sea. Within this feature, two smaller cyclonic gyres operate, occupying the eastern and western sectors of the basin. Outside the Rim Current, numerous quasi-permanent coastal eddies are formed as a result of upwelling
Upwelling
Upwelling is an oceanographic phenomenon that involves wind-driven motion of dense, cooler, and usually nutrient-rich water towards the ocean surface, replacing the warmer, usually nutrient-depleted surface water. The increased availability in upwelling regions results in high levels of primary...

 around the coastal apron and ‘wind curl’ mechanisms. The intra-annual strength of these features is controlled by seasonal atmospheric and fluvial variations. The temperature of the surface waters varies seasonally from 8 °C (46.4 °F) to 14 °C (57.2 °F).

Directly beneath the surface waters the Cold Intermediate Layer (CIL) is found. This layer is composed of cool, salty surface waters, which are the result of localised atmospheric cooling and decreased fluvial input during the winter months. The production of this water is focused in the centre of the major gyres and on the NW shelf and as the water is not dense enough to penetrate the deep waters, isopycnal
Isopycnal
An isopycnal is a surface of constant potential density of water. In the ocean, as the depth increases, so too does the density. Varying degrees of salinity and temperature act to modify the density of water, and the denser water always lies below the less dense water. Because of the action of...

 advection
Advection
Advection, in chemistry, engineering and earth sciences, is a transport mechanism of a substance, or a conserved property, by a fluid, due to the fluid's bulk motion in a particular direction. An example of advection is the transport of pollutants or silt in a river. The motion of the water carries...

 occurs, dispersing the water across the entire basin. The base of the CIL is marked by a major thermocline
Thermocline
A thermocline is a thin but distinct layer in a large body of fluid , in which temperature changes more rapidly with depth than it does in the layers above or below...

, halocline
Halocline
In oceanography, a halocline is a subtype of chemocline caused by a strong, vertical salinity gradient within a body of water. Because salinity affects the density of seawater, it can play a role in its vertical stratification...

 and pycnocline
Pycnocline
A pycnocline is the cline or layer where the density gradient is greatest within a body of water. An ocean current is generated by the forces such as breaking waves, terms of temperature and salinity differences, wind, Coriolis effect, and tides caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the...

 at and this density disparity is the major mechanism for isolation of the deep water.
Below the pycnocline, salinity increases to 22 to 22.5 ppt and temperatures rise to around 8.5 °C (47.3 °F). The hydrochemical environment shifts from oxygenated to anoxic, as bacterial decomposition of sunken biomass utilises all of the free oxygen. Certain species of extremophile
Extremophile
An extremophile is an organism that thrives in physically or geochemically extreme conditions that are detrimental to most life on Earth. In contrast, organisms that live in more moderate environments may be termed mesophiles or neutrophiles...

 bacteria are capable of using sulfate
Sulfate
In inorganic chemistry, a sulfate is a salt of sulfuric acid.-Chemical properties:...

 (SO42−) in the oxidation
Redox
Redox reactions describe all chemical reactions in which atoms have their oxidation state changed....

 of organic material, which leads to the creation of hydrogen sulfide
Hydrogen sulfide
Hydrogen sulfide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is a colorless, very poisonous, flammable gas with the characteristic foul odor of expired eggs perceptible at concentrations as low as 0.00047 parts per million...

 (H2S). This enables the precipitation
Precipitation (chemistry)
Precipitation is the formation of a solid in a solution or inside anothersolid during a chemical reaction or by diffusion in a solid. When the reaction occurs in a liquid, the solid formed is called the precipitate, or when compacted by a centrifuge, a pellet. The liquid remaining above the solid...

 of sulfide
Sulfide
A sulfide is an anion of sulfur in its lowest oxidation state of 2-. Sulfide is also a slightly archaic term for thioethers, a common type of organosulfur compound that are well known for their bad odors.- Properties :...

s such as the iron sulphides pyrite
Pyrite
The mineral pyrite, or iron pyrite, is an iron sulfide with the formula FeS2. This mineral's metallic luster and pale-to-normal, brass-yellow hue have earned it the nickname fool's gold because of its resemblance to gold...

, greigite
Greigite
Greigite is an iron sulfide mineral with formula Fe3S4. It is the sulfur equivalent of the iron oxide magnetite . It was first described in 1964 for an occurrence in San Bernardino County, California, and named after the mineralogist and physical chemist Joseph W...

 and iron monosulphide, as well as the dissolution of carbonate matter such as calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rocks in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, coal balls, pearls, and eggshells. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime,...

 (CaCO3), found in shells. Organic matter, including anthropogenic artifacts such as boat hulls, are well preserved. During periods of high surface productivity, short-lived algal
Algae
Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

 blooms form organic rich layers known as sapropel
Sapropel
Sapropel is a term used in marine geology to describe dark-coloured sediments that are rich in organic matter...

s. Scientists have reported an annual phytoplankton
Phytoplankton
Phytoplankton are the autotrophic component of the plankton community. The name comes from the Greek words φυτόν , meaning "plant", and πλαγκτός , meaning "wanderer" or "drifter". Most phytoplankton are too small to be individually seen with the unaided eye...

 bloom that can be seen in many NASA images of the region. 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
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 wreck Sinop D
Sinop D
Sinop D is an ancient Black Sea shipwreck located to the east of Sinop, Turkey. The ship was discovered by a team led by Robert Ballard in 2000. The team discovered the well-preserved wreck at a 320m depth, in the Black Sea's deep anoxic waters. The vessel's entire hull and cargo are intact, buried...

, located in the anoxic layer off the coast of Sinop, Turkey
Sinop, Turkey
Sinop is a city with a population of 36,734 on İnce Burun , by its Cape Sinop which is situated on the most northern edge of the Turkish side of Black Sea coast, in the ancient region of Paphlagonia, in modern-day northern Turkey, historically known as Sinope...

.

Modelling shows the release of the hydrogen sulphide 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.

Ecology



The 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
Trophic level
The trophic level of an organism is the position it occupies in a food chain. The word trophic derives from the Greek τροφή referring to food or feeding. A food chain represents a succession of organisms that eat another organism and are, in turn, eaten themselves. The number of steps an organism...

 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. 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. Day length and insolation
Insolation
Insolation is a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given time. It is commonly expressed as average irradiance in watts per square meter or kilowatt-hours per square meter per day...

 intensity also controls the extent of the photic zone
Photic zone
The photic zone or euphotic zone is the depth of the water in a lake or ocean that is exposed to sufficient sunlight for photosynthesis to occur...

. 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.

Phytoplankton


The main phytoplankton groups present in the Black Sea are dinoflagellates, diatoms, coccolithophores and cyanobacteria (see list below). 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. This pattern of productivity is also augmented by an Emiliania huxleyi
Emiliania huxleyi
Emiliania huxleyi, often abbreviated "EHUX", is a species of coccolithophore with a global distribution from the tropics to subarctic waters. It is one of thousands of different photosynthetic plankton that freely drift in the euphotic zone of the ocean, forming the basis of virtually all marine...

bloom during the late spring and summer months.
  • Dinoflagellates: 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
    Gymnodinium
    Gymnodinium is a genus of dinoflagellates. It is one of the few naked dinoflagellates, or species lacking armor . Since 2000, the species which had been considered to be part of Gymnodinium have been divided into several genera, based on the nature of the apical groove and the biochemistry...

    sp. Estimates of dinoflagellate diversity in the Black Sea range from 193 species to 267 species. 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 temperature <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.

  • Diatoms: The Black Sea is populated by many species of marine diatom, which commonly exist as colonies of unicellular, non-motile auto- and heterotrophic algae
    Algae
    Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

    . 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 Si
    Si
    Si, si, or SI may refer to :- Measurement, mathematics and science :* International System of Units , the modern international standard version of the metric system...

    -bearing terrestrial sediments, and when the supply of Si 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
    Ammonium
    The ammonium cation is a positively charged polyatomic cation with the chemical formula NH. It is formed by the protonation of ammonia...

    -based regenerated production also have a role to play in the annual diatom cycle. Typically, Proboscia alata blooms during spring and Pseudosolenia calcar-avis blooms during the autumn.

  • Coccolithophores: Coccolithophores are a type of motile, autotrophic phytoplankton
    Phytoplankton
    Phytoplankton are the autotrophic component of the plankton community. The name comes from the Greek words φυτόν , meaning "plant", and πλαγκτός , meaning "wanderer" or "drifter". Most phytoplankton are too small to be individually seen with the unaided eye...

     that produce CaCO3 plates, known as coccoliths, as part of their life cycle. In the Black Sea, the main period of coccolithophore
    Coccolithophore
    Coccolithophores are single-celled algae, protists, and phytoplankton belonging to the division of haptophytes. They are distinguished by special calcium carbonate plates of uncertain function called coccoliths , which are important microfossils...

     growth occurs after the bulk of the dinoflagellate growth has taken place. In May, the dinoflagellates move below the seasonal thermocline
    Thermocline
    A thermocline is a thin but distinct layer in a large body of fluid , in which temperature changes more rapidly with depth than it does in the layers above or below...

    , 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 Emiliania huxleyi
    Emiliania huxleyi
    Emiliania huxleyi, often abbreviated "EHUX", is a species of coccolithophore with a global distribution from the tropics to subarctic waters. It is one of thousands of different photosynthetic plankton that freely drift in the euphotic zone of the ocean, forming the basis of virtually all marine...

    , which is also responsible for the release of dimethyl sulfide
    Dimethyl sulfide
    Dimethyl sulfide or methylthiomethane is an organosulfur compound with the formula 2S. Dimethyl sulfide is a water-insoluble flammable liquid that boils at and has a characteristic disagreeable odor. It is a component of the smell produced from cooking of certain vegetables, notably maize,...

     into the atmosphere. Overall, coccolithophore diversity is low in the Black Sea, and although recent sediments are dominated by E. huxleyi, Braarudosphaera bigelowii, Holocene
    Holocene
    The Holocene is a geological epoch which began at the end of the Pleistocene and continues to the present. The Holocene is part of the Quaternary period. Its name comes from the Greek words and , meaning "entirely recent"...

     sediments have also been shown to contain Helicopondosphaera and Discolithina species.

  • Cyanobacteria: Cyanobacteria are a phylum of picoplankton
    Picoplankton
    Picoplankton is the fraction of plankton composed by cells between 0.2 and 2 μm that can be either :* photosynthetic * heterotrophic Some species can also be mixotrophic....

    ic (plankton ranging in size from 0.2 – 2 micrometre) bacteria
    Bacteria
    Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

     that obtain their energy via photosynthesis
    Photosynthesis
    Photosynthesis is a chemical process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight. Photosynthesis occurs in plants, algae, and many species of bacteria, but not in archaea. Photosynthetic organisms are called photoautotrophs, since they can...

    , 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.

  • Zebra mussel
    Zebra mussel
    The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, is a small freshwater mussel. This species was originally native to the lakes of southeast Russia being first described in 1769 by a German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas in the Ural, Volga and Dnieper rivers. They are still found nearby, as Pontic and Caspian...

    : The Black Sea along with the Caspian Sea
    Caspian Sea
    The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

     is part of the Zebra mussel's native range. The mussel has been accidentally introduced around the world and become an invasive species
    Invasive species
    "Invasive species", or invasive exotics, is a nomenclature term and categorization phrase used for flora and fauna, and for specific restoration-preservation processes in native habitats, with several definitions....

     where it has been introduced.

  • Common Carp
    Common carp
    The Common carp is a widespread freshwater fish of eutrophic waters in lakes and large rivers in Europe and Asia. The wild populations are considered vulnerable to extinction, but the species has also been domesticated and introduced into environments worldwide, and is often considered an invasive...

    : The Common Carp's native range extends to The Black Sea along with the Caspian Sea and Aral Sea
    Aral Sea
    The Aral Sea was a lake that lay between Kazakhstan in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south...

    . Like the Zebra mussel the Common Carp is an invasive species when introduced to other habitats.

  • Round Goby
    Round Goby
    The round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, is an euryhaline bottom-dwelling goby of the family Gobiidae, native to central Eurasia including the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.-Characteristics:...

    : 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
    Great Lakes
    The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

    .

The effect of pollution on Black Sea ecology


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 Emiliania huxleyi (coccolithophore), Chromulina sp., and the Euglenophyte Eutreptia lanowii are able to out-compete diatom species because of the limited availability of Si, a necessary constituent of diatom frustules. As a consequence of these blooms, benthic macrophyte populations were deprived of light, while anoxia caused mass mortality in marine animals.

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 (Mnemiopsis leidyi)—was able to establish itself in the basin, exploding from a few individuals to an estimated biomass of one billion metric tons. 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 impacts.

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. 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. Mnemiopsis leidyi populations have been checked with the arrival of another alien species which feeds on them.


Climate


Short-term climatic variation in the Black Sea region is significantly influenced by the operation of the North Atlantic Oscillation
North Atlantic oscillation
The North Atlantic oscillation is a climatic phenomenon in the North Atlantic Ocean of fluctuations in the difference of atmospheric pressure at sea level between the Icelandic low and the Azores high. Through east-west oscillation motions of the Icelandic low and the Azores high, it controls the...

, which is a term used to describe the climatic mechanisms resulting from the interaction between the north Atlantic and mid-latitude air masses. While the exact mechanisms causing the North Atlantic Oscillation remain unclear, 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
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 inputs and influence Mediterranean Sea Surface Temperatures (SST's). The relative strength of these systems also limits the amount of cold air arriving from northern regions during winter. Other influencing factors include the regional topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

, as depressions and storms systems arriving from the Mediterranean are funneled through the low land around the Bosphorus, Pontic
Pontic Mountains
The Pontic Mountains form a mountain range in Northern Turkey, also known as the Parhar mountains in the local Turkish and Pontic Greek languages. The term "Parhar" originates from the Hittite word meaning "high" or "summit"....

 and Caucasus
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

 mountain ranges acting as wave guides, limiting the speed and paths of cyclones passing through the region

Mediterranean connection during the Holocene



The Black Sea is connected to the World Ocean
World Ocean
The World Ocean, world ocean, or global ocean, is the interconnected system of the Earth's oceanic waters, and comprises the bulk of the hydrosphere, covering almost 71% of the Earth's surface, with a total volume of 1.332 billion cubic kilometres.The unity and continuity of the World Ocean, with...

 by a chain of two shallow straits, the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

 and the Bosphorus. The Dardannelles is 55 m (180.45 ft) deep and the Bosphorus is as shallow as 36 m (118.11 ft). By comparison, at the height of the last Ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

, sea levels were more than 100 m (328.08 ft) lower than they are now. There's also evidence that water levels in the Black Sea, too, were considerably lower at some point during the post-glacial period. Thus, for example, archeologists found fresh-water snail shells and man-made structures in roughly 328 feet (100 m) of water off the Black Sea coast of modern Turkey. Therefore it is agreed that the Black Sea has been a landlocked freshwater lake (at least in upper layers) during the last glaciation and for some time after.

In the aftermath of the Ice Age, 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
Black Sea deluge theory
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 made headlines when The New York Times published it in December 1996, shortly before it was published...

" put forward by William Ryan and Walter Pitman.

Deluge hypothesis



In 1997, William Ryan and Walter Pitman from Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 published a hypothesis according to which a massive flood through the Bosphorus occurred in ancient times. They claim that the Black and Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

s were vast freshwater lakes, but then about 5600 BC, the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 spilled over a rocky sill at the Bosphorus, creating the current communication between the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Subsequent work has been done both to support and to discredit this hypothesis, and archaeologists still debate it. This has led some to associate this catastrophe with prehistoric flood myths.

History



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, arguably left by Old Europeans, was found in Varna, and the Black Sea was supposedly sailed by the Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

. The land at the eastern end of the Black Sea, Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

, (now Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

), marked for the Greeks an edge of the known world. The steppes to the north of the Black Sea have been suggested as the original homeland (Urheimat
Urheimat
Urheimat is a linguistic term denoting the original homeland of the speakers of a proto-language...

) of the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

, (PIE) the progenitor of the Indo-European language
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 family, by some scholars (see Kurgan
Kurgan
Kurgan is the Turkic term for a tumulus; mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves, originating with its use in Soviet archaeology, now widely used for tumuli in the context of Eastern European and Central Asian archaeology....

; others move the heartland further east towards the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

, yet others to Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

). Numerous ancient ports line Black Sea's coasts, some older than the pyramids.

The Black Sea was a significant naval theatre of World War I and saw both naval and land battles during World War II
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

.

Archaeology


Ancient trade routes in the region are currently being extensively studied by scientists, as the Black Sea was sailed by Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

, Carians
Carians
The Carians were the ancient inhabitants of Caria in southwest Anatolia.-Historical accounts:It is not clear when the Carians enter into history. The definition is dependent on corresponding Caria and the Carians to the "Karkiya" or "Karkisa" mentioned in the Hittite records...

, Thracians
Thracians
The ancient Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting areas including Thrace in Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family...

, Greeks, Persians
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

, Cimmerians
Cimmerians
The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia...

, Scythians, Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, Byzantines
Byzantine Greeks
Byzantine Greeks or Byzantines is a conventional term used by modern historians to refer to the medieval Greek or Hellenised citizens of the Byzantine Empire, centered mainly in Constantinople, the southern Balkans, the Greek islands, Asia Minor , Cyprus and the large urban centres of the Near East...

, Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

, Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

, Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

, Bulgars
Bulgars
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

, Slavs, Varangians
Varangians
The Varangians or Varyags , sometimes referred to as Variagians, were people from the Baltic region, most often associated with Vikings, who from the 9th to 11th centuries ventured eastwards and southwards along the rivers of Eastern Europe, through what is now Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.According...

, Crusaders
Crusaders
The Crusaders are a New Zealand professional rugby union team based in Christchurch that competes in the Super Rugby competition. They are the most successful team in Super Rugby history with seven titles...

, Venetians
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

, Genoese
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

, Lithuanians
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

, Georgians
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

, Poles, Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

, Ottomans, and Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

. 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
Ancient Black Sea shipwrecks
Ancient Black Sea shipwrecks is the study of shipwrecks found in the Black Sea which date to Antiquity. In 1976, Willard Bascom suggested that the deep, anoxic waters of the Black Sea might have preserved ships from antiquity because typical wood-devouring organisms could not survive there...

 in a high state of preservation.

Holiday resorts and spas




In the years following the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the popularity of the Black Sea as a tourist
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 destination has been steadily increasing. Overall, tourism at Black Sea resorts has become one of the region's growth industries. The following is a list of well-known Black Sea resort
Resort
A resort is a place used for relaxation or recreation, attracting visitors for holidays or vacations. Resorts are places, towns or sometimes commercial establishment operated by a single company....

s:
  • 2 Mai
    2 Mai
    2 Mai is a village in Limanu commune, Constanţa County, Romania, and a small resort on the shore of the Black Sea, between Mangalia and Vama Veche....

     (Romania)
  • Agigea
    Agigea
    Agigea is a commune in Constanţa County, Romania. The commune includes two villages: Agigea and Lazu ....

     (Romania)
  • Ahtopol
    Ahtopol
    Ahtopol is a town and seaside resort on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is located on a headland in the southeastern part of Burgas Province and is close to the border with European Turkey...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Amasra
    Amasra
    Amasra is a small Black Sea port town in the Bartın Province, Turkey. The town is today much appreciated for its beaches and natural setting, which has made tourism the most important activity for its inhabitants...

     (Turkey)
  • Anaklia
    Anaklia
    Anaklia is a town and seaside resort in western Georgia. It is located in the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, at the place where the Enguri River flows into the Black Sea, near the administrative border with Abkhazia.- History :...

     (Georgia)
  • Anapa
    Anapa
    Anapa is a town in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, located on the northern coast of the Black Sea near the Sea of Azov. It was originally a seaport for the Natkhuay tribe of the Adyghe people. Population: The town boasts a number of sanatoria and hotels...

     (Russia)
  • Albena
    Albena
    Albena is a major Black Sea resort in northeastern Bulgaria, situated 12 km from Balchik and 30 km from Varna. Albena is served by the international airport of Varna....

     (Bulgaria)
  • Alupka
    Alupka
    Alupka is a resort city located in Crimea, Ukraine, situated to the west of Yalta. It is famous for the Vorontsov's Palace, designed by English architect Edward Blore in an extravagant mixture of Scottish baronial and Neo-Moorish styles and built in 1828–1846 for prince Mikhail Semyonovich...

     (Crimea, Ukraine)
  • Alushta
    Alushta
    Alushta is a resort town in Crimea, Ukraine, founded in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian. It is situated on the Black Sea on the road from Gurzuf to Sudak, as well as on the Crimean Trolleybus line....

     (Crimea, Ukraine)
  • Balchik
    Balchik
    Balchik is a Black Sea coastal town and seaside resort in the Southern Dobruja area of northeastern Bulgaria. It is located in Dobrich Oblast and is 42 km northeast of Varna...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Batumi
    Batumi
    Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia's second capital, with a population of 121,806 , Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in...

     (Georgia)
  • Burgas
    Burgas
    -History:During the rule of the Ancient Romans, near Burgas, Debeltum was established as a military colony for veterans by Vespasian. In the Middle Ages, a small fortress called Pyrgos was erected where Burgas is today and was most probably used as a watchtower...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Byala
    Byala, Varna Province
    Byala is a small town and seaside resort in Eastern Bulgaria, located on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast in Varna Province. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Byala Municipality and lies in a semi-mountainous region in the easternmost branches of Stara Planina about 50 km south...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Chakvi
    Chakvi
    Chakvi is a resort town in Georgia by the Black Sea coast.In July 2007 the $600,000 Chakvi radar station was constructed through oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District. It serves both the commercial and military port.- References :...

     (Georgia)
  • Constantine and Helena (Bulgaria)
  • Corbu
    Corbu, Constanta
    Corbu is a commune in Constanţa County, Romania.The commune includes three villages:* Corbu * Luminiţa * Vadu...

     (Romania)
  • Costineşti
    Costinesti
    Costineşti is a commune and resort in Constanţa County, Romania, located on the shore of the Black Sea, about 30 kilometres south of the county seat, Constanţa. It is composed of two villages, Costineşti and Schitu....

     (Romania)
  • Eforie
    Eforie
    Eforie : Băile Movilă, Carmen-Sylva, Vasile Roaită) is a town and a holiday resort on the Black Sea shore, in Constanţa County, Romania. It is located about 14 kilometers south of Constanţa...

     (Romania)
  • Emona
    Emona (Burgas)
    Emona is a village and seaside resort in southeast Bulgaria, situated in the Nesebar Municipality of the Burgas Province. The beach Irakli is 5 km from Emona. Emona lies close to Cape Emine. There are ruins of the ancient fortress nearby....

     (Bulgaria)
  • Eupatoria
    Eupatoria
    Yevpatoria or Eupatoria is a city in Crimea, Ukraine.-History:The first recorded settlement in the area, called Kerkinitis , was built by Greek colonists around 500 BC...

     (Crimea, Ukraine)
  • Foros (Crimea, Ukraine)
  • Feodosiya (Crimea, Ukraine)
  • Giresun
    Giresun
    Giresun is the provincial capital of Giresun Province in the Black Sea Region of northeastern Turkey, about west of the city of Trabzon.-Etymology:...

     (Turkey)
  • Gagra
    Gagra
    Gagra is a town in Abkhazia, Georgia’s breakaway republic, sprawling for 5 km on the northeast coast of the Black Sea, at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains...

     (Abkhazia, Georgia1)
  • Gelendzhik
    Gelendzhik
    Gelendzhik is a resort town in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated on the Gelendzhik Bay of the Black Sea, between Novorossiysk and Tuapse . Greater Gelendzhik sprawls for along the coastline and covers an area of 122,754 ha...

     (Russia)
  • Golden Sands
    Golden Sands
    Golden Sands is a major seaside resort town on the northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, adjacent to a national park of the same name in the municipality of Varna....

     (Bulgaria)
  • Gonio
    Gonio
    Gonio fortress , is a Roman fortification in Adjara, on the Black sea, 15 km south of Batumi, at the mouth of the Chorokhi river. The village sits 4 km north of the Turkish border....

     (Georgia)
  • Gurzuf
    Gurzuf
    Gurzuf or Hurzuf is a resort in Crimea, Ukraine, on the northern coast of the Black Sea.Gurzuf is a former Crimean Tatar village, now a part of Greater Yalta. It was made famous by Alexander Pushkin who visited the place in 1821. The famous ballet master Marius Petipa died here...

     (Crimea, Ukraine)
  • Hopa
    Hopa
    Hopa is a city and district of Artvin Province in northeast Turkey. It is located on the eastern Turkish Black Sea coast about from the city of Artvin and 18 kilometres from the border with Georgia.-Geography:...

     (Artvin, Turkey)
  • Istanbul
    Istanbul
    Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

     (Turkey)
  • Jupiter
    Jupiter, Romania
    Jupiter is a summer resort on the Romanian seacoast, on the Black Sea, north of Mangalia....

     (Romania)
  • Kamchia
    Resort of Kamchiya
    The Resort Complex of Kamchia, , is a Black Sea coastal resort on the northern length of the coast of Bulgaria. It is located 25 km south of the Provincial Centre of Varna in the municipality of Avren and lies north of the mouth of the river Kamchia...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Kavarna
    Kavarna
    Kavarna is a Black Sea coastal town and seaside resort in the Dobruja region of northeastern Bulgaria. It lies 64 km northeast of Varna and 49 km from Dobrich on the international road E87. As of December 2009, the town has a population of 11,397 inhabitants. A little yacht port, a...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Kiten (Bulgaria)
  • Kobuleti
    Kobuleti
    Kobuleti is a town in Georgia's southwestern region of Ajaria. It is situated on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Kobuleti is a sea resort, visited annually by Georgians and many former Soviet Union residents. From the 17th century into the 19th, Kobuleti was a fiefdom of the Tavdgiridze...

     (Georgia)
  • Koktebel
    Koktebel
    Koktebel , formerly known as Planerskoye, is one of the most popular resort townlets in South-Eastern Crimea. Koktebel is situated on the shore of the Black Sea about halfway between Feodosiya and Sudak and is subordinated to the Theodosia city municipality. It is best known for its literary...

     (Crimea, Ukraine)
  • Lozenetz
    Lozenets, Burgas Province
    Lozenets is a village and seaside resort on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is part of Tsarevo municipality, Burgas Province, and lies at...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Mamaia
    Mamaia
    Mamaia is a resort on the Romanian Black Sea shore, considered to be Romania's most popular resort. It is situated immediately north-east of Constanţa...

     (Romania)
  • Mangalia
    Mangalia
    Mangalia , is a city and a port on the coast of the Black Sea in the south-east of Constanţa County, Romania.The municipality of Mangalia also administers several summer time seaside resorts: Cap Aurora, Jupiter, Neptun, Olimp, Saturn, Venus.-History:...

     (Romania)
  • Năvodari
    Navodari
    Năvodari is a town in Constanţa County, region of Dobrogea, Romania, with a population of 32,400.-History:The settlement was mentioned for the first time in 1421 under the name Kara Koyun , to be renamed later on Karaköy or Carachioi...

     (Romania)
  • Neptun
    Neptun, Romania
    Neptun is a summer resort on the Romanian seacoast, on the Black Sea, 6 km north of Mangalia. It is part of a string of such resorts, Olimp, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn....

     (Romania)
  • Nesebar
    Nesebar
    Nesebar is an ancient town and one of the major seaside resorts on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, located in Burgas Province. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Nesebar Municipality...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Novorossiysk
    Novorossiysk
    Novorossiysk is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia. It is the country's main port on the Black Sea and the leading Russian port for importing grain. It is one of the few cities honored with the title of the Hero City. Population: -History:...

     (Russia)
  • Ordu
    Ordu
    Ordu 'army') is a port city on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, and the capital of Ordu Province. Estimated population c. 2010: 141,341.-Etymology:...

     (Turkey)
  • Obzor
    Obzor
    Obzor is a small town and seaside resort on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. It is part of Nesebar municipality, Burgas Province.The Thracian and ancient Greek name of Obzor was Naulochos, a small port on the coast of Thrace, a colony of Mesembria. The ancient Romans named it Templum Iovis ;...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Odessa
    Odessa
    Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

     (Ukraine)
  • Olimp
    Olimp, Romania
    Olimp is a summer resort on the Romanian seacoast, on the Black Sea, north of Mangalia....

     (Romania)
  • Pitsunda
    Pitsunda
    Pitsunda is a resort town in Gagra district of Abkhazia.The town was founded by the Greeks in the 5th century BC as a trade colony Pityus or Pitiunt. Excavations guided by Andria Apakidze unearthed remains of three 4th-century churches and a bath with superb mosaic floors...

     (Abkhazia, Georgia1)
  • Pomorie
    Pomorie
    Pomorie is a town and seaside resort in southeastern Bulgaria, located on a narrow rocky peninsula in Burgas Bay on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is situated in Burgas Province, 20 km away from the city of Burgas and 18 km from the Sunny Beach resort. The ultrasaline lagoon...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Primorsko
    Primorsko
    Primorsko is a town and seaside resort in southeastern Bulgaria, part of Burgas Province. A well-known resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, it is located on a gore 52 km south of Burgas and has a beach strip of about 1 km². The average temperature is 27°C in July, often reaching...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Rize
    Rize
    Rize is the capital of Rize Province, in northeast Turkey, on the Black Sea coast.-Etymology:The name comes from Greek or Ριζαίον , meaning "mountain slopes". In modern times, its name in Greek was usually Ριζούντα . Its Latin forms are Rhizus and Rhizaeum...

     (Turkey)
  • Rusalka
    Rusalka, Bulgaria
    Rusalka is a seaside resort on the northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast located in Dobrich Province, northeastern Bulgaria . It is located in a nature reserve in a bay 90 km northeast of Varna and 23 km from Shabla, surrounded by oak forests.The whole resort is an all-inclusive area of 600...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Samsun
    Samsun
    Samsun is a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey. It is the provincial capital of Samsun Province and a major Black Sea port.-Name:...

     (Turkey)
  • Saturn
    Saturn, Romania
    Saturn is a summer resort on the Romanian seacoast, on the Black Sea, north of Mangalia.Saturn is a summer resort on the Romanian seacoast, on the Black Sea, north of Mangalia....

     (Romania)
  • Sinop (Turkey)
  • Sochi
    Sochi
    Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated just north of Russia's border with the de facto independent republic of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea coast. Greater Sochi sprawls for along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains...

     (Russia)
  • Sozopol
    Sozopol
    Sozopol is an ancient seaside town located 35 km south of Burgas on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Today it is one of the major seaside resorts in the country, known for the Apollonia art and film festival that is named after one of the town's ancient names.The busiest times of the year...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Sudak
    Sudak
    Sudak or Sudaq is a small historic town located in Crimea, Ukraine situated to the west of Feodosiya and to the east of Simferopol, the capital of Crimea...

     (Crimea, Ukraine)
  • Skadovsk
    Skadovsk
    Skadovsk is a port city on the Black Sea in the Kherson Oblast of southern Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Skadovsky Raion ....

     (Ukraine)
  • Sulina
    Sulina
    Sulina is a town and free port in Tulcea County, Romania, at the mouth of the Sulina branch of the Danube. It is the easternmost point of Romania and of the continental European Union.-History:...

     (Romania)
  • Sunny Beach
    Sunny Beach
    Sunny Beach is a major seaside resort on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, located approximately 35 km north of Burgas in Nessebar municipality, Burgas Province. It is the biggest and most popular holiday resort in Bulgaria, and is home to over 800 hotels with more than 300 000 beds. There are...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Şile
    Sile
    Şile is a small holiday city on the Black Sea, 70 km from the city of Istanbul, Turkey. Şile is the also the name of the district and the municipality that contain the city center of Şile...

     (Turkey)
  • Sveti Vlas
    Sveti Vlas
    Sveti Vlas is a town and seaside resort on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, located in Nesebar municipality, Burgas Province. As of July 2007, it has a population of 3,869....

     (Bulgaria)
  • Trabzon
    Trabzon
    Trabzon is a city on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road, became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Iran in the southeast and the Caucasus to the northeast...

     (Turkey)
  • Tsikhisdziri (Georgia)
  • Tuapse
    Tuapse
    Tuapse is a town in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, situated on the northeast shore of the Black Sea, south of Gelendzhik and north of Sochi. It serves as the administrative center of Tuapsinsky District, although administratively it is separate from it...

     (Russia)
  • Ureki
    Ureki
    Ureki is a town and a seaside climatic resort in the Ozurgeti District of Georgia’s Guria region, on the Black Sea coast, situated 10 km from Batumi and approximately 300 km from the nation’s capital Tbilisi. Located 4 meters above the sea level, it has the population of 1,422 .It received a...

     (Georgia)
  • Vama Veche
    Vama Veche
    Vama Veche is a village in Romania on the Black Sea coast, near the border with Bulgaria, at 28.57 E longitude, 43.75 N latitude. It is part of the commune of Limanu and in 2002, it had a population of 178....

     (Romania)
  • Varna
    Varna
    Varna is the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and third-largest in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv, with a population of 334,870 inhabitants according to Census 2011...

     (Bulgaria)
  • Venus
    Venus, Romania
    Venus is a summer resort on the Romanian seacoast, on the Black Sea, north of Mangalia....

     (Romania)
  • Yalta
    Yalta
    Yalta is a city in Crimea, southern Ukraine, on the north coast of the Black Sea.The city is located on the site of an ancient Greek colony, said to have been founded by Greek sailors who were looking for a safe shore on which to land. It is situated on a deep bay facing south towards the Black...

     (Crimea, Ukraine)
  • Zonguldak
    Zonguldak
    Zonguldak is a city and the capital of Zonguldak Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey. Its population, according to the 2009 census, was 108,792. It is an important port on the Black Sea because of the coal mining in Zonguldak Province...

     (Turkey)


1 Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

 has been a de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

independent republic since 1992, although remains a de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

autonomous republic of Georgia.

The Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution


The Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution

Mission.

Acting on the mandate of the Black Sea countries (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine) which on the 21-04-1992, signed and shortly thereafter ratified the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution, the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (the Black Sea Commission) implements the provisions of the Convention and the Black Sea Strategic Action Plan.

Main Challenges
  • Combating Pollution from land-based sources and maritime transport,
  • Achieving sustainable management of marine living resources,
  • Pursuing sustainable human development.

Regional organizations


See also the Balkans Regional organizations and Post-Soviet Regional organizations.
The EU
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 is also involved through two of its member countries, Bulgaria and Romania.

International status and military use



The 1936 Montreux Convention
Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Turkish Straits
The Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits was a 1936 agreement that gives Turkey control over the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles and regulates military activity in the region. The Convention gives Turkey full control over the Straits and guarantees the free passage of...

 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. The 1982 amendments to the Montreux Convention allow Turkey to close the Straits at its discretion in both wartime and peacetime.

There is no single organization or treaty establishing a military control over the Black Sea, although the Black Sea Naval Force (BLACKSEAFOR) created in 2001 under the leadership of Turkey is intended to help in preserving security in the Black Sea maritime area. A number of agreements regulate the military status of the Black Sea, including the 1936 Montreux Convention
Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Turkish Straits
The Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits was a 1936 agreement that gives Turkey control over the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles and regulates military activity in the region. The Convention gives Turkey full control over the Straits and guarantees the free passage of...

 governing the passage of vessels between the Black and the Mediterranean Seas, and the agreements regulating the positioning of the Russian Black Sea Fleet
Black Sea Fleet
The Black Sea Fleet is a large operational-strategic sub-unit of the Russian Navy, operating in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea since the late 18th century. It is based in various harbors of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov....

 in Ukraine. In particular, the presence of military vessels belonging to non-littoral
Littoral
The littoral zone is that part of a sea, lake or river that is close to the shore. In coastal environments the littoral zone extends from the high water mark, which is rarely inundated, to shoreline areas that are permanently submerged. It always includes this intertidal zone and is often used to...

 states in the Black Sea waters is restricted under the terms of the Montreux Convention
Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Turkish Straits
The Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits was a 1936 agreement that gives Turkey control over the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles and regulates military activity in the region. The Convention gives Turkey full control over the Straits and guarantees the free passage of...

.

See also

  • 1927 Crimean earthquakes
    1927 Crimean earthquakes
    The 1927 Crimean earthquakes occurred on June 26 and September 11–12, 1927 in the waters of the Black Sea, hitting the Crimean peninsula. The June earthquake hit with a force of 6-7 on the Richter scale, while the one in mid-September was reported to have been up to 9 on the Richter scale near the...

  • Ancient Black Sea shipwrecks
    Ancient Black Sea shipwrecks
    Ancient Black Sea shipwrecks is the study of shipwrecks found in the Black Sea which date to Antiquity. In 1976, Willard Bascom suggested that the deep, anoxic waters of the Black Sea might have preserved ships from antiquity because typical wood-devouring organisms could not survive there...

  • Anoxic event
    Anoxic event
    Oceanic anoxic events or anoxic events occur when the Earth's oceans become completely depleted of oxygen below the surface levels. Although anoxic events have not happened for millions of years, the geological record shows that they happened many times in the past. Anoxic events may have caused...

  • Black Sea deluge theory
    Black Sea deluge theory
    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 made headlines when The New York Times published it in December 1996, shortly before it was published...

  • Black Sea Games
    Black Sea Games
    The Black Sea Games are a multi-sport games held every four years, mainly for nations bordering the Black Sea.- Sports :* Archery * Athletics * Basketball * Cycling * Football * Gymnastics * Paralympic archery* Paralympic swimming...

  • Black Sea Technical University
  • Bulgarian Black Sea Coast
    Bulgarian Black Sea Coast
    The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast covers the entire eastern bound of Bulgaria stretching from the Romanian Black Sea resorts in the north to European Turkey in the south, along 378 km of coastline. White and golden sandy beaches occupy approximately 130 km of the 378 km long coast...

  • Internationalization of the Danube River
    Internationalization of the Danube River
    The Danube River has been a trade waterway for centuries, but with the rise of international borders and the jealousies of national states, commerce and shipping has often been hampered for narrow reasons. In addition, natural features of the river, most notably the sanding of the delta, has often...

  • Romanian Black Sea resorts
    Romanian Black Sea resorts
    The Romanian Black Sea resorts stretches from Danube Delta in north down to the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast in south, along 275 km of coastline....

  • 1936 Montreux Convention governing the passage of ships between the Black and the Mediterranean Seas
    Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Turkish Straits
    The Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits was a 1936 agreement that gives Turkey control over the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles and regulates military activity in the region. The Convention gives Turkey full control over the Straits and guarantees the free passage of...


External links