Caspian Sea – WorldAtlas

The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest water physique that’s enclosed or bordered by land on all sides. This large lake is positioned between Asia and Europe.

The Caspian Sea might have derived its title from the Caspi individuals who lived in South Caucasus. Nevertheless, the Persians and Greeks referred to the ocean because the Hyrcanian Ocean.

The Caspian Sea is greatest recognized for its oil trade and caviar. It is usually residence to quite a few plant and animal species. Nevertheless, air pollution, notably from the oil trade, is a main menace to the ocean’s ecology, with environmental our bodies calling for managed industrial actions within the area.

The place Is The Caspian Sea?

Caspian Sea map
Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea is an endorheic basin (drainage basin with out an outflow).  It covers a complete floor space of about 386,400 km2 and is about 1,200 km lengthy and 320 km large. The ocean’s floor is roughly 27 m beneath sea stage and has a quantity of 78,200 km3. The Caspian Sea accounts for between 40-44% of the world’s lacustrine waters.

5 international locations in Asia and Europe share the Caspian Sea’s shoreline. It’s bordered to the north and east by Kazakhstan and from north to the west by Russia. Azerbaijan borders the ocean to the southwest, whereas Iran is within the south. Turkmenistan lies alongside the southern portion of the japanese coast. Moreover the 5 international locations bordering the ocean, the Caspian Sea drains Armenia, the japanese a part of Georgia, the western portion of Uzbekistan, and the northeastern a part of Turkey.

The Caspian Sea consists of three separate areas, particularly Southern, Northern, and Center Caspian. The Mangyshlak Threshold kinds the Center-Northern boundary, whereas the Apsheron Threshold separates the Southern from the Center Caspian. The Northern Caspian is a shallow area with a median depth of between 5 and 6 meters. It carries lower than 1% of the ocean’s quantity. The Center Caspian is about 190 meters deep, whereas the Southern Caspian is the deepest area, about 1,000 meters deep. The Southern area accounts for 66%, whereas the Center area accounts for 33% of the full water quantity. 

Is The Caspian Sea A Lake?

Going by the definition of a sea, the Caspian Sea is a lake and never a sea as it’s an enclosed water physique with none direct outlet to the ocean. Nevertheless, 5.5 million years in the past, it was a part of the traditional Parathethys Sea and bought landlocked on account of tectonic uplift and sea-level fall. Therefore, the seafloor of the Caspian Sea consists of oceanic basalt and never continental granite. The Caspian Sea can be large and kinds waves like the ocean alongside its shores. The composition of the water of the Caspian Sea additionally varies from nearly recent within the northern components of the lake to saltier southwards. The imply salinity of the Caspian Sea is now about one-third that of the oceans. 

Waves alongside the shores of the Caspian Sea. Picture credit score: Sergei Afanasev/

Is The Caspian Sea A Freshwater Or Saline Water Physique?

Though most sources contemplate the Caspian Sea the world’s largest lake, it’s not the biggest freshwater lake. It may be labeled as a brackish water physique. The water within the Caspian Sea is neither fully freshwater nor fully saline water. The water is 1.2% saline. The Caspian’s imply salinity is about one-third the salinity of the oceans.

About 5.5 million years in the past, the Caspian Sea was a part of the Tethys Ocean however was fully lower off from the ocean on account of plate tectonic. The ocean turned landlocked, with none outflow. Subsequently, any water that will get into the ocean, is both absorbed into the bottom or evaporates, resulting in the water turning into saline.

The Caspian Sea will not be uniformly saline. The Iranian shore is extra saline than the ocean’s northern portion. The Caspian’s northern portion accommodates significantly freshwater due to the influx of freshwater. Over 100 rivers empty into the Caspian Sea, together with the Volga River, Europe’s largest river. Different rivers that movement into the Caspian are Amu Darya, Kura, and Ural Rivers. Most of those rivers comprise recent water and movement into Caspian from the north, making the ocean’s northern portion much less saline.

Islands In The Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea accommodates about 50 small islands. These islands have a complete land space of roughly 2,000 km2 and are primarily positioned on the ocean’s northern portion. Many of the Caspian Sea islands lie off the coast of Baku Bay, Azerbaijan.

The most important island within the Caspian Sea is the Orguja Ada. It’s a lengthy, slim desert island, working 42 km from north to south with a most width of about 1.5 km. Orguja Ada can be Turkmenistan’s largest island. The island has no everlasting inhabitants. Different islands within the Caspian Sea embody Durneva, Chechen, Buyuk Zira, Pirallhi, Bulla, Qum, Gil, and Chikil. None of those islands are inhabited.

The Local weather Of The Caspian Sea

Storm above the Caspian Sea. Picture credit score: Kaikups/

The Caspian Sea area is without doubt one of the world’s dry areas. The massive water physique crosses a couple of local weather area. The totally different local weather areas coincide with the local weather of the varied international locations sharing the ocean’s shoreline. The acute north, which falls inside Kazakhstan and Russia experiences a chilly and dry temperate continental local weather. The ocean’s southern half, shared by Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iran is way hotter.

The floor temperature over the Caspian Sea varies with the areas. Nevertheless, the typical temperature throughout summer season is between 75 and 79 levels Fahrenheit. July to August is the warmest interval because of the excessive temperatures. Winter temperatures are important however range with the area. The temperature within the north ranges from 32 to 45 levels Fahrenheit, whereas within the south the temperature ranges from 46 to 50 levels Fahrenheit.

Transient Historical past

The Caspian Sea was a part of the Paratethys Sea, an historical sea within the Tethys Ocean. Tethys Ocean existed over 60 million years in the past and was linked to the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. Following a shift in continental landforms, the Tethys Ocean was disconnected from the 2 oceans. A lot of its water evaporated, resulting in the formation of the Black Sea, the Aral Sea, and the Caspian.

Archaeological proof reveals that people started settling alongside the Caspian Sea about 75,000 years in the past. The Caspi Tribe, from which the title “Caspian” was derived, inhabited the northwestern shores. Though oil was found across the tenth century, the Europeans started exploring the area for oil across the sixteenth century. In 1820, the primary offshore oil properly was dug within the Caspian Sea.

The ocean’s water ranges have fluctuated over time. Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the water stage fluctuated by about 12 toes. The Caspian Sea has additionally induced a number of floods, together with the 1977 flood, which induced large destruction. The ocean’s water ranges have risen by about 7 toes within the final 4 a long time,

Human Settlement Alongside The Caspian Sea

Baku, the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan, is the biggest settlement on the Caspian Sea. Picture credit score: Moviephoto/

A number of cities and cities are positioned alongside the Caspian Sea. These cities are residence to 1000’s of individuals, lots of which depend upon the ocean for his or her survival. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, is the biggest metropolis on the Caspian. It’s residence to some 2.2 million folks. One other necessary metropolis alongside the Caspian is Iran’s Nowshahr, with a inhabitants of about 50,000 folks. Different cities embody Ali Abad, Astara, Aktau, and Makhachkala.

Marine Life And Protected Areas

Caspian Sea gulls alongside the shorelines of the Caspian Sea. Picture credit score: Dmitrii Kash/

The Caspian Sea is wealthy in biodiversity and regarded one of many world’s impartial zoogeographical areas. It’s residence to some uncommon and endemic species. The shores additionally supply refuge for each plant and animal species. The shores have shallow saline swimming pools that host small invertebrates, fish, and birds. Birds use the ocean as a migratory route and refuge.

There are over 2,000 animals and species throughout the Caspian Sea area, of which 400 are endemic species. A few of these endemic species are the spur-thighed tortoise, Caspian gull, Caspian salmon, Caspian white fish, and Caspian Seal. Beluga sturgeon, recognized for its eggs, is the Caspian’s most respected animals. They’re the supply of many of the world’s caviar. Different mammals discovered across the Caspian are the Asiatic lion, Asiatic tiger, and Caspian tiger. There are not any sharks within the Caspian Sea.

The inhabitants across the sea is a supply of ecological menace not solely to the wildlife but in addition to the individuals who depend upon the ocean. Intensive oil exploration has induced critical air pollution and hurt to wildlife. Nevertheless, addressing these threats is a problem because of the dispute over the ocean’s possession among the many 5 international locations.

Economic system

Oil platform off the Caspian coastline close to Baku, Azerbaijan. Picture credit score: Aquatarkus/

The Caspian Sea is a major crude oil provider. It produces about 1.5 million barrels of crude oil and pure gasoline per day, accounting for about 1.9% of the world’s whole. Oil exploration within the area started in 1873. By 1941, Azerbaijan was producing about 23 million tons of oil yearly. The Caspian economies export as much as 80% of the full oil, with Russia exporting about 66% of the full oil export. Moreover oil and gasoline, the Caspian Sea is a crucial commerce route among the many 5 international locations. The Caspian Sea’s coastal areas additionally entice a major variety of vacationers, producing extra earnings for the respective economic system. 

Caspian Sea Map



Floor Space

386,400  km2

Most Depth

1,025 m

Common Depth

211 m


1,200 km

Most Width

435 km

Minimal Width

200 km

Shoreline Space

6,820 km

Water Quantity

78,200 km3


27 m beneath sea stage

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