Sea of Marmara

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Image:Sea of Marmara map.png
Map of the Sea of Marmara

The Sea of Marmara (Turkish: Marmara Denizi, Greek: Θάλασσα του Μαρμαρά or Προποντίς, Bulgarian: Мраморно море), also known as the Sea of Marmora or the Marmara Sea, is an inland sea that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating the Asian part of Turkey from its European part. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Black Sea and the Dardanelles strait to the Aegean. The former also separates Istanbul into its Asian side and European side. The Sea has an area of 11,350 km².

The salinity of the sea averages about 22 parts per thousand, which is slightly greater than that of the Black Sea but only about two-thirds that of the oceans. However, sea-bottom waters are much more saline, averaging salinities of around 38 parts per thousand - similar to that of the Mediterranean Sea. This high-density saline water, like that of the Black sea itself, does not migrate to the surface. Water from the Granicus, Susurluk, Biga and Gonen Rivers also reduces the salinity of the sea, though with less influence than on the Black Sea. Almost all of these rivers flow from Anatolia: very little land in Thrace drains southward.

There are two major island groups known as the Prince's and Marmara islands. The latter group is rich in sources of marble and gives the sea its name (Greek marmaros, marble). A notable island located in this sea is İmralı, where Abdullah Öcalan is imprisoned.

During a storm on December 29 1999, the Russian oil tanker Volgoneft broke in two in the Sea of Marmara, and more than 1500 tonnes of oil were spilled into the water.

The North Anatolian fault, which has triggered many major earthquakes in recent years, such as the Izmit Earthquake of 1999, runs under the sea.

Propontis (Προποντίς, -ίδος < pro 'before' + pontos 'Black Sea') was the ancient Greek name for the sea. The Bulgarian name of the sea Мраморно море (Mramorno more) means Marble sea.

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Sea of Marmara

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