Étang de Berre

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Étang de Berre
Port Istres 2006.jpg
port at Istres
Location France
Coordinates 43°26′45″N 5°06′50″E / 43.44583°N 5.11389°E / 43.44583; 5.11389Coordinates: 43°26′45″N 5°06′50″E / 43.44583°N 5.11389°E / 43.44583; 5.11389
Primary inflows Arc, Touloubre, La Cadière-d'Azur, canal de la Durance
Primary outflows canal de Caronte, canal du Rove
Catchment area 1,700 km² (natural)
Basin countries France
Surface area 155.3 km²
Water volume 900 mio m3
Surface elevation 0.4 m

The Étang de Berre (in Provençal Occitan: estanh de Bèrra / mar de Bèrra according to classical orthography, estang de Berro / mar de Berro according to Mistralian orthography) is a lagoon on the Mediterranean coast of France, about 25 km north-west of Marseille.

Geography[edit]

Created by the rise in water levels at the end of the last ice age, this small inland sea is composed of three parts: the principal body of water, the Étang de Vaïn to the east and the Étang de Bolmon to the south-east.

The Étang de Berre is fed with fresh water by the rivers Arc, Touloubre and La Cadière-d'Azur and – since 1966 – by the Canal de la Durance. Two canals link it to the sea: the Canal de Caronte leading towards Port-de-Bouc and the Canal du Rove which leads towards L'Estaque. However the underground portion of the latter is blocked by a rock fall.

The Marseille Provence Airport is located in the southeast portion of the Étang Barre, with its main runway extending into the water on reclaimed land.

Administration[edit]

Ten communes border the Étang de Berre: Istres, Miramas, Saint-Chamas, Berre-l'Étang, Rognac, Vitrolles, Marignane, Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, Martigues and Saint-Mitre-les-Remparts.

History[edit]

The ancient name of the Étang de Berre was Stagnum Mastromela, according to Pliny the Elder (Book III [34]).