Sea of Marmara

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The Sea of Marmara (Turkish: Marmara Denizi), also known as the Sea of Marmora or the Marmara Sea, and in the context of classical antiquity as the Propontis (Greek: Προποντίς), is the inland sea that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating Turkey's Asian and European parts. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Black Sea and the Dardanelles strait to the Aegean. The former also separates Istanbul into its Asian and European sides. The Sea has an area of 11,350 km² (280 km x 80 km)[1] with the greatest depth reaching 1,370 m.



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 most oceans. However, the water is much more saline at the sea-bottom, 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 Susurluk , Biga (Granicus) and Gonen Rivers also reduces the salinity of the sea, though with less influence than on the Black Sea. With little land in Thrace draining southward, almost all of these rivers flow from Anatolia.

There are two major island groups known as the Princes' and Marmara islands (including Avşa and Paşalimanı).

The south coast of the sea is heavily indented, and includes the Gulf of Izmit (Turkish: İzmit Körfezi), the Gulf of Gemlik (Turkish: Gemlik Körfezi) and the Gulf of Erdek (Turkish: Erdek Körfezi). 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.

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