Danube Delta

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The Danube Delta (Romanian: Delta Dunării; Ukrainian: Дельта Дунаю, Del'ta Dunaju) is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta, and is the best preserved on the continent.[1] The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Romania (Tulcea county), while its northern part, on the left bank of the Chilia arm, is situated in Ukraine (Odessa Oblast). The approximate surface is 4152 km², of which 3446 km² are in Romania. If the lagoons of Razim-Sinoe (1015 km² of which 865 km² water surface; situated in the south, but attached to the Danube Delta from geological and ecological perspectives, as well as being the combined territory of the World Heritage Site) are to be added, the considered area of the Danube Delta grows to 5165 km².

Contents

Geography and Geology

The modern Danube Delta began forming after 4,000 B.C. in a gulf of the Black Sea, when the sea rose to its present level. A sandy barrier blocked the Danube gulf where the river initially built its delta. Upon filling the gulf with sediments, the delta advanced outside the barrier-blocked estuary after 3,500 B.C. building several successive lobes[2][3]: the St. George I (3,500-1,600 B.C.), the Sulina (1,600-0 B.C.), the St. George II (0 B.C.-Present) and the Chilia or Kilia (1600 A.D.-Present).

The Danube Delta is a low alluvial plain, mostly covered by wetlands and water. It consists of an intricate pattern of marshes, channels, streamlets and lakes. The average altitude is 0.52 m, with 20% of the territory below sea level, and more than half not exceeding one meter in altitude. Dunes on the most extensive strandplains of the delta (Letea and Caraorman strandplains) stand higher (12.4 m and 7 m respectively). The largest lakes are Dranov (21.7 km²), Roşu (14.5 km²), Gorgova (13.8 km²).

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