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The Black Sea is almost completely surrounded by land, but the narrow Bosphorus Channel connects it to the rest of the world’s oceans. It is connected to the Mediterranean Sea to the south by the Bosphorus Strait, which is the world’s narrowest strait, with an average width of 1.6 km, a depth of 36 m, and a total length of 31 km. The Black Sea is connected to the Sea of Azov in the north by the shallow Kerch Strait, which has a depth of less than 20 metres.
- Six European and Asian countries border the Black Sea: Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
- The Danube, Dnieper, and Don all flow into the Black Sea.
Black Sea Features
The Black Sea is about one-fifth the size of the Mediterranean, with a surface area of 423,000 km2, a total volume of 547,000 km3, and a maximum depth of about 2,200 metres. It gets water from the Danube, the Dnieper, and the Don, Europe’s three largest rivers, as well as the Dniester and the Kuban. Its catchment area is over 2 million km2, which is almost five times the size of the Black Sea. It includes large industrial and agricultural areas in 22 different countries. Both the Don and the Kuban rivers end up in the Azov Sea.
The Black Sea is entirely anoxic.
Almost 87 per cent of the Black Sea doesn’t have enough oxygen and has a lot of hydrogen sulphide in it. This is because of how the Black Sea was formed and what happened to it in the past. The Black Sea have a unique water balance. The high degree of separation from the rest of the world’s oceans, deep water depression with a maximum depth of 2,212 metres in the middle of the sea, wide drainage basin, and many rivers coming in. Most pelagic and benthic organisms are not found deep in the water.
Pollution in the Black Sea
Most of the pollution in the Black Sea comes from the rivers that flow into it. The main rivers that flow into the Black Sea are the Danube, the Dnieper, the Dniester, the Don, and the Kuban.
Trade through the Black Sea
- At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the Black Sea is an important artery for commodity flow.
- The Black Sea is used to transport crude oil, refined oil, agricultural goods, and iron and steel.
- The Bloomberg report says that Ukraine and Russia trade more than a quarter of the world’s wheat, almost a fifth of its corn, and most of its sunflower oil.
- Ukraine has become the second-largest shipper of grain because it has rich, fertile soil.
Straits of Black Sea
The Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits, which are also called the Turkish Straits and the Black Sea Straits, connect the Sea of Marmara to both the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea. About 48,000 ships pass through the straits every year, making this one of the busiest sea routes in the world. Bosphorus is also one of the most important places for the shipping of oil around the world.
- Kerch Strait
- The Black Sea and the Sea of Azov are connected by the Kerch Strait.
- It is between the Crimean peninsula of Kerch and the Russian peninsula of Taman.
- It gets its name from the city of Kerch (a city on the Kerch Peninsula in the east of Crimea).
- Bosphorus strait
- The Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara are joined by the Bosphorus Strait.
- Dardanelles strait
- The Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara are joined by the Dardanelles Strait.
- In 1936, the Montreux Convention on the Rules for the Straits was signed. It gives NATO member Turkey control over the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits and says how naval warships can pass through them.
- The Convention gave Turkey the right to arm the Straits again. The Montreux Convention says that civilian ships can use the Turkish Straits without any problems.
- The agreement says that if Turkey is at war, Ankara can do whatever it needs to, even close the straits. If other countries are at war and Turkey is not on their side, the straits are closed to them.
- When planes fly over the straits, the Turkish government must also give permission.
- The Turkish straits are also off-limits to submarines. But Black Sea states can build submarines outside of the Black Sea and move them through the straits. They can also leave the Black Sea to get repairs done.
Rivers draining the Black Sea
- The Danube River flows through the heart of central Europe, and it is Europe’s second-longest river.
- Danube River has a length of 2,857 km.
- The drainage basin of the Danube River is 817,000 Sq. Km. It includes all of Hungary, most of Romania, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Slovakia and significant parts of Bulgaria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Serbia, and Ukraine.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with small parts of Italy, Switzerland, Albania and Poland, also lie in the river basin.
- The Danube River merges into the Black Sea through a delta that is the second-largest wetland area in Europe.
- The river is the second-longest in Ukraine and Moldova’s primary water channel. The name Dniester comes from the Sarmatian Danu Nazdya, which means “close river.” The Dniester is utilised as a source of drinking water and irrigation.
- It begins on the north side of the Carpathian Mountains and runs about 840 miles south and east until emptying into the Black Sea.
- The Dniester and its tributaries drain a long, narrow basin of approximately 72,000 square kilometres.
- The river travels over rugged terrain with mountain peaks as high as 800 metres, as well as forests and low, flat ground.
- The Dnieper is Europe’s third-largest river (after the Volga and the Danube).
- It has a total length of 2200 km and drains an area of 511 000 km2.
- The Russian Federation controls 20% of the river basin, Belarus controls 23%, and Ukraine controls the majority, 57%.
- The Dnieper River basin is home to 32 million people.
- The region’s terrain is mostly arable, and various crops (wheat, sugar beet, barley, rye, sunflower, flax, soybean, fruits and vegetables) are farmed.
- The Don is Europe’s fifth-longest river.
- The Don River begins in Novomoskovsk, about 200 kilometres south-southeast of Moscow, and runs 1,870 kilometres to the Sea of Azov.
- The river runs southeast to Voronezh before turning southwest to its mouth. Rostov on Don is the river’s principal city.
- After the Volga, the Don is Russia’s second most significant river.
- There is a significant expanse of fertile steppe between the Don and the Volga, most of which has been turned into farmland.
In conclusion, the Black Sea region is a geopolitically important area that has been in the news for a long time. The upsc exam will likely test candidates on their knowledge of this region. To best prepare for the exam, it is important to be familiar with the historical and current events taking place in this area.