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The caspian Sea


The Caspian Sea is the largest lake on Earth by both area and volume,[1] with a surface area of 371,000 square kilometres (143,244 mi²) and a volume of 78,200 cubic kilometres (18,761 mi³).[2] It is a landlocked endorheic body of water and lies between Asia and Europe. It has a maximum depth of about 1025 meters (3,363 ft). It is called a sea because when the Romans discovered it, they tasted the water and found it to be salty.[3] It has a salinity of approximately 1.2%, about a third the salinity of sea water


The Caspian Sea is bordered by Russia (Dagestan, Kalmykia, Astrakhan Oblast), Azerbaijan, Iran (Guilan, Mazandaran and Golestan provinces), Turkmenistan (Balkan Province), and Kazakhstan, with the central Asian steppes to the north and east. On its eastern Turkmen shore is a large embayment, the Garabogazköl.
The sea is connected to the Sea of Azov by the Manych Canal and the Volga-Don Canal.


The sea is estimated to be about 30 million years old. It became landlocked about 5.5 million years ago. Discoveries in the Huto cave near the town of Behshahr, Mazandaran, (Southern land of Caspian Sea) suggest human habitation of the area as early as 75,000 years ago
In classical antiquity it was called the Hyrcanian Ocean. It has also been known as the Khazar Sea. In Persian antiquity, as well as in modern Iran, it is known as the Mazandaran Sea. Old Russian sources call it the Khvalyn (Khvalynian) Sea after the Khvalis, inhabitants of Khwarezmia. Ancient Arabic sources refer to Bahr-e-Qazvin – the Qazvin Sea. The word Caspian is derived from "Kaspi", ancient peoples that lived to west of the sea in Transcaucasia
Historical cities by the sea include:

Hyrcania, Persia (Iran)
Tamisheh, Mazandaran, (which is now in Modern Iran)
Atil, Khazaria
Baku, Azerbaijan

The Caspian Sea holds great numbers of sturgeon, which yield eggs that are processed into caviar. In recent years overfishing has threatened the sturgeon population to the point that environmentalists advocate banning sturgeon fishing completely until the population recovers. However, prices for sturgeon caviar are so high that fisherman can afford to pay similarly high bribes to authorities to look the other way, making regulations in many locations ineffective.[citations needed] Caviar harvesting further endangers the fish stocks, since it targets reproductive females.
The Caspian Seal (Phoca caspica, Pusa caspica in some sources) is endemic to the Caspian Sea, one of very few seal species living in inland waters (see also Baikal Seal).
The area has given its name to several species of birds, including the Caspian Gull and the Caspian Tern

Characteristics and ecology

The Caspian has characteristics common to both seas and lakes. It is often listed as the world's largest lake, though it is not a freshwater lake.
The Volga River (about 80% of the inflow) and the Ural River discharge into the Caspian Sea, but it is endorheic, i.e. there is no natural outflow (other than by evaporation) except the Manych Canal. Thus the Caspian ecosystem is a closed basin, with its own sea level history that is independent of the eustatic level of the world's oceans. The Caspian became landlocked about 5.5 million years ago. The level of the Caspian has fallen and risen, often rapidly, many times over the centuries. Some Russian historians claim that a medieval rising of the Caspian caused the coastal towns of Khazaria, such as Atil, to flood. In 2004, the water level is -28 metres, or 28 metres (92 feet) below sea level.
Over the centuries, Caspian Sea levels have changed in synchronicity with the estimated discharge of the Volga, which in turn depends on rainfall levels in its vast catchment basin. Precipitation is related to variations in the amount of North Atlantic depressions that reach the interior, and they in turn are affected by cycles of the North Atlantic Oscillation. Thus levels in the Caspian sea relate to atmospheric conditions in the North Atlantic thousands of miles to the north and west. These factors make the Caspian Sea a valuable place to study the causes and effects of global climate change.
The last short-term sea-level cycle started with a sea-level fall of 3 m from 1929 to 1977, followed by a rise of 3 m from 1977 until 1995. Since then smaller oscillations have taken place[2]. These changes have caused major environmental problems[3].

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