The morphometry of the Black Sea (1)
  Of all the inland seas, such as the White Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea is the most isolated from the world ocean. Its only tenuous link with other seas is with the Mediterranean through the Bosphorus Strait, the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles. The Bosphorus is essentially a narrow, elongated, shallow channel, nearly 31 km long. Its width varies between 0.7 and 3.5 km with an average of 1.3 km at the surface. The width gradually narrows towards the bottom of the channel to an average of 500 m at a depth of 50 m. The depth varies from 30 to 100 m with an average of 50 m along the central section of the channel. In the north, the Kerch Strait connects the Black Sea to the shallow Azov Sea. The Azov Sea has an area of 39,000 km2 and an average depth of 8 m. The Kerch Strait is a shallow channel (10 m deep in the north, 18 m deep in the south and 5 m deep in the central section) about 45 km long. Its width varies between 3.7 km and 42 km. Such a significant degree of isolation, together with low salinity and low winter water temperatures, has been a decisive factor in shaping the Black Sea flora and fauna.
  The catchment area of the Black Sea is over 2 million km2, entirely or partially covering 22 countries in Europe and Asia Minor. These include the six littoral states (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine) and 16 Eastern and Central European states. According to the political map of Europe (1996), these are, in alphabetical order: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia - Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Yugoslavia. The catchment area contributing water to the Black Sea varies from country to country. In Albania, Poland and Italy it is only 100-300 km2; in Switzerland 1,700 km2; in Moldova 33,700 km2; in Germany 58,000 km2; in Romania 226,000 km2; in Turkey 249,000 km2; and in Ukraine 600,000 km2.
  The surface area of the Black Sea is 423,000 km2. It contains a total volume of 547,000 km3 of water and has a maximum depth of 2,212 m. The sea is located in an east-west intermontane depression (Degens and Ross et al., 1974). To the south of the Black Sea depression are the Pontic Mountains, with a maximum elevation of 3,937 m (Mount Kachkar), and, to the East, the Caucasus Mountains, with a maximum elevation of 5,642 m (Mount Elbrus). The western and northern coastal regions are relatively low (the Black Sea Lowlands). The greatest relief in the north of the Black Sea depression is on the Crimean Peninsula, with a maximum elevation of 1,545 m (Mount Roman-Kosh).
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