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Exploring the Caspian Sea

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The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water in the world. It is even bigger than the Great Lakes in the United States or Lake Victoria in East Africa. This water is located where South-Eastern Europe meets Asia. The Caspian Sea is 1,030 km long, and has a minimum width of 196 km and maximum width of 435 km. Its coastline makes up about 7,000 km in length; its surface area is about 386,400 square km. It also has no connections with any of the oceans.

The water of the Caspian Sea is slightly saline, being three times less salty than ocean water. The sea is a remainder of Tethis, which was an ancient ocean that used to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans between 50-60 million years ago. Because of geological situations, the connections with both oceans have been cut off, and it now remains on its own. The sea is divided into the northern, middle and southern parts; these three regions are very distinct. The Northern Caspian is very shallow, and contains the lowest level of water volume, being only 5-6 meters deep on average. The Middle Caspian is significantly more deep, having an average depth of 190 meters; the Southern Caspian can reach over 1,000 meters in depth. During the winter time, the Northern Caspian freezes, and ice sometimes forms in the Southern Caspian if it gets really cold. There are some islands on the sea, and they are mostly in the north.

NASA Image of the Sea
NASA Image of the Sea

The Caspian Sea’s shores exist in the areas of northern Iran, southern Russia, eastern Azerbaijan, and western Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. People who relocate to these regions will probably face factors of the Caspian sea in some ways, whether it is eating sea food or going to the water for science or vacation. Everyone will certainly hear about it somehow, as it is an important body of water for these regions. There are 130 rivers that flow into the Caspian, including the Volga. In the northeast, the Central Asian Steppes touch the coast of the sea; in the West, the Caucasus Mountains meet the shore.

Caspian Sea in Iran
Caspian Sea in Iran

In terms of wildlife, many Sturgeon fish live in the sea, and their eggs are turned into expensive caviar. This is a problem, because these Sturgeon are being overfished, and environmentalists have called for action without much effect. There is also a Caspian Salmon which is very endangered. Another animal is the Caspian seal, which is unique to this sea, being one of the only seal species that lives around inland waters.

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