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Why is the White Sea called like this

The White Sea is one of the coldest seas on the planet, with temperatures ranging from 0 to -2ºC during the winter and from 12 to 15ºC during the summer. Despite its low temperatures, it is a sea that is home to great biodiversity, which is why it has a Russian biological station in its vicinity.

In this AgroCorrn article we will tell you why the White Sea is called like that and some characteristics and curiosities of it.

You may also be interested in: Why is it called Red Sea

Why is it called the White Sea and where is it located

This sea is located in a large gulf of another sea, the Barent Sea in northwestern Russia. This sea was known to the ancient Vikings as Gandvik, which can be translated as “Bay of snakes”. Currently, it is known by the name of the White Sea, since its large surface remains frozen for most of the year, due to its low temperatures. The sea is bordered to the northeast by the Kanín Peninsula, to the west by Karelia and to the north by the Kola Peninsula. The surface of this sea is approximately 95,000 km 2 .

The sea has an average depth that varies between 50 and 200 meters, with its deepest point located at 340 meters. Four great rivers flow into its waters, they are the Mezenov, Ponoyu, Kem, Onega and Dvina to the north.

The White Sea has four large gulfs or bays in its interior: one in its outer part, the Bay of Menzen located to the east, and three in its internal part, to the southeast the Bay of Dvina, to the south the Gulf of Onega and to the northwest the Gulf of Kandalakcha. There are also several islands within it, the largest of which are Morzhóvets Island and Solovetsky Islands, which have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Next, we explain more about the conditions in the White Sea such as climate, salinity, mineral resources and biodiversity so that you know it better.

The top of the White Sea

As we mentioned earlier, the temperature of this sea fluctuates between 0ºC and -2ºC during the winter and, on the other hand, between 12ºC and 15ºC during the summer .

The sea is covered by ice most of the year , but especially in the winter, when the ice increases since October and forms large plates or icebergs during the month of November. The winds that come from the north mean that these icebergs can be found floating in the sea until well into the month of June. From May to August, there is an increase of several degrees in the temperature of the water, which can even rise to 16 ºC (maximum) in the central part of the basin. At a depth of 50 meters, temperatures are close to 0ºC.

Salinity and other minerals of the White Sea

The salinity of the White Sea is related to its hydrological regime, since it receives groundwater and from several rivers and its level of water exchange with the Barents Sea is very low. The average salinity of the White Sea is approximately 26 ppm , at some points it is 18 ppm, reaching a maximum of 31 ppm at 100 meters depth.

Regarding the geological resources or other minerals that are in the bottoms that are located under the White Sea, we can highlight that these are made up of materials such as sand, gravel, shells or pebbles . Important deposits of ferromanganese have recently been discovered under this sea.

The biodiversity of the White Sea

Despite its cold waters and its high level of salinity compared to other seas and oceans, the White Sea harbors a great diversity of life under its waters. This sea is used by many species of animals from marine regions that migrate to this place in search of a refuge, such as seals and spotted seals. Beluga whale populations can also be found in its waters . Marine biodiversity is so rich that an important biological station is located nearby , where hundreds of researchers and students pass throughout the year. Its waters also represent an important source for fishing, as salmon, sole, cod or herring are caught here.

As a curiosity, the swimmer Natalia Avseenko dived into the cold waters of the White Sea to swim among Belugas.

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