Friday, 18 April 2014

Sivash Salt Lagoons in the Crimean Peninsula

There’s a place lies in between Black sea and Sea of Azov is called “Crimean Peninsula” actually located just south of the Ukrainian mainland, and is almost entirely surrounded by water. It is linked with the Ukrainian mainland by the Isthmus of Perekop a strip of land about five to seven kilometers wide, and is separated from the Russian region of Kuban on the east by the Strait of Kerch. On the other side of northeast is located the Arabat Spit, a thin strip of land that splits a system of shallow salt-water lagoons named Sivash, from the Sea of Azov.

These lagoons almost cut the Crimean Peninsula off from the mainland, and works as a natural border between the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Kherson Oblast that passes through Sivash. To the north side, the Isthmus of Perekop splits Sivash from the Black Sea and at the same time, links the Crimean Peninsula to the mainland. The Sivash lagoons are very shallow with a mean depth of about 50 cm to 1 meter, while the deepest place is mere about 3 meters. Although bottom is covered with silt about to 5 meters thick. However; the lagoons are so shallow, so water entering Sivash from the algae-ridden Sea of Azov and evaporates rapidly in summer, therefore; producing a terrible stench which has received the lagoon name is "Rotten Sea".

It is estimated that more than 200 million tonnes of salt is exist in Sivash. In consequence the salt harvesting has converted into a big business in Crimea. In summer when water levels recede, plentiful pinkish-white salt pans are uncovered and covering dozens of square kilometers in the region. The eye-catching pink color is the result of microalgae that flourish in salty conditions and yield high levels of beta-carotene, a reddish pigment that protects it from the region's penetrating sunlight. The salt is gathered by traders and exported to European Union countries, Russia, and to Japan, where it is prized for its purported value in fighting the effects of radiation. This below picture shows the diversity of colors the lagoons yield owing to its varied chemical composition. Hence you can view different colors, such as peach, mustard, and lime green, blue, blue-green, beige, and brown. Moreover; thick layers of silt coat the bottoms of the shallow marshes, which are abundant in mineral salts to supply a local chemical plant.