|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
Natural-colour satellite image of Sivash
|Location||Sea of Azov|
|Basin countries|| Ukraine,
|Max. length||200 km (120 mi)|
|Max. width||35 km (22 mi)|
|Surface area||2,560 km2 (990 sq mi)|
|Average depth||0.5–1 m (1.6–3.3 ft)|
|Max. depth||3 m (9.8 ft)|
The Syvash or Sivash (Russian and Ukrainian: Сива́ш; Crimean Tatar: Sıvaş or Сываш, "dirt"), also known as the Putrid Sea or Rotten Sea (Russian: Гнило́е Мо́ре, Ginloye More; Ukrainian: Гниле́ Мо́ре, Ginle More; Crimean Tatar: Çürük Deñiz or Чюрюк Денъиз), is a large system of shallow lagoons on the west coast of the Sea of Azov. Separated from the sea by the narrow Arabat Spit, the water of the Syvash covers an area of around 2,560 km2 (990 sq mi) and the entire area spreads over about 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi). Its eastern connection to the Sea of Azov is called the Genichesk Strait. Lying on the northeastern coast of the Crimean Peninsula, control of the area is disputed between Ukraine and Russia.
The Syvash nearly cuts the Crimean Peninsula off from the mainland, serving as a natural border for its autonomous republic. The long (110 km or 68 mi) and narrow (0.27–8 km or 0.17–5.0 mi) Arabat Spit runs to its east, separating it from the Sea of Azov. The two bodies are connected in the north at the Genichesk Strait beside the port of Genichesk. To its west, the isthmus of Perekop separates it from the Black Sea and connects Crimea to Ukraine.
The Syvash is extremely shallow. The deepest place is about 3 meters (9.8 ft), with most areas between ½ and 1 meter (18 in to 3 ft) deep. The bottom is covered with silt up to 5 m (16 ft) thick. Being very shallow, the waters in the Syvash heat up in the summer and produce a putrid smell. The wide area for evaporation also leaves the water extremely salty. The amount of various salts is estimated at 200 million metric tons. Several plants[clarification needed] harvest the mineral resources of Syvash. The Syvash area is a wetland of international importance. The shores are low, slightly sloping, swampy and salty. In summer, the water level of Syvash decreases significantly, revealing barren solonets soils called "syvashes" by locals.
The Syvash is sometimes divided into the Western Syvash and Eastern Syvash. These are connected to each other by the Chongar Strait.
Soviet soldiers crossing the Syvash during World War II.
- "Sea of Azoff" in the Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th ed. 1878.
Media related to Syvash at Wikimedia Commons