The Caspian: Sea or Lake?

2,000 years ago the world was largely

unexplored the people who lived during

this time the planet would have seemed

infinite as little could be known about

the world that they could not see for

themselves in turn has led to the

creation of many false theories to

describe the world that laid beyond

their sites

the ancient Greeks for example believe

that to the east of their homeland in a

country called hurricane iya there was a

tremendous ocean which they aptly called

the hurricane II and Ocean at its shores

only endless miles of waving and rolling

water could be seen and because of its

size it was thought that this body of

water was the end of land and the

beginning of the Titan Oceanus who

wrapped his watery body around all the

land of Earth and as time went on many

others noticed this unyielding body of

water as well and made the same

conclusions because of it

the Persians who lived just to the south

of it called it the MS and ER and see

while the Arabs who lived to the

southwest gave it the name the Gillen

see or the Casman see the Turk people

who found themselves on the eastern side

called this body the Khazar see after

the Khazar nomads who migrated along the

coastline and the Russians who lived to

the north even the name Valen or the

Kavala sea and all of them together

believed that this water was from the

ocean even as we advanced explored and

drew maps very little was known about

this vast body of water

explorers during the Renaissance gave it

names such as the Habakkuk sea and the

sea of Baku and famous cartographers

like for now Vaz Dorado kept its coast

vague and unending to avoid being proven

wrong later but it was Strabo a Greek

geographer born in 64 BC who tributed

the sea its final name in his travels he

learned of the Caspi people a small

tribe who lived to the west of the water

in a region called the Caspian he named

the sea after these people and today we

still call this the Caspian Sea but

something still isn't right to these

ancient people the Caspian Sea was


their vision and without being able to

find land on the other side it was

thought to be part of the ocean but

today with satellites and planes we know

that it is surrounded on all sides by

land and typically we call bodies of

water surrounded on all sides by land

lakes so what gives is the Caspian a sea

or a lake first let's look at why

exactly it's thought to be a sea as I

mentioned before the Caspian Sea is

massive in terms of surface area the

Caspian is 371 thousand square

kilometers in comparison that's almost

the same size as the state of California

and four and a half times the size as

Lake Superior the next largest enclosed

body of water by volume the Caspian Sea

holds 78 thousand cubic kilometers of

water compared to the Great Lakes that's

three and a half times the amount of

water in all of them combined and unlike

those Lakes the water here is salty too

instead of fresh like the ocean so it's

no surprise that early people figured

the Caspian was connected to the ocean

furthermore in the past and I'm talking

like 33 million years ago in the past

during the oligo scene epoch the Caspian

was enveloped in what's called the

parrot at the sea and was in fact

connected to the world ocean but around

five and a half million years ago due to

the movement of plate tectonics the

Caspian Basin became isolated and

landlocked and now the only influx of

water comes from the freshwater rivers

surrounding it such as the Volga and the

uro rivers and the only drainage of the

lake is through evaporation this is what

causes the sea to be salty the Volga Don

Canal technically connects the Volga

River to the Don River

therefore connecting the Caspian to the

Black Sea and eventually the ocean but

canals don't really count so we're just

going to ignore that for now and with

the salinity of only 1.2 percent the

Caspian waters are just over one-third

the salinity of true ocean water and the

northern half of the sea is almost

entirely fresh water furthermore the sea

level of the Caspian is completely

independent of oceanic sea levels

averaging around 28 metres below true

sea level and mostly depends on the

outflow of the Volga River

so despite its name by definition the

Caspian is in fact a lake a gargantuan

lake but still just a lake the only

reason we still call it the sea is

because of those ancient people who live

a world too large to know better so the

next question people might be asking is

does any of this actually you know

matter and the surprising answer is yes

in recent times the status of the

Caspian Sea has become a heated

geopolitical dispute you see the Caspian

Sea besides being a massive water

resource is rich in both oil and natural

gas and as technology advances and

greater amounts of these energy

resources become available for

extraction many countries in the region

big and small are looking towards the

Caspian to propel their economies but

who exactly has access to these

resources is still up in the air because

of this debate if the Caspian is to be

considered a sea then the waters are

considered international waters

regulated by the United Nations

conventions of the law of the Seas this

would lead to the creation of fairly

equal borders based on each country's

coastline and would look something like

this with Russia getting this area

Azerbaijan right below there Iran

getting the southern end Turkmenistan

getting the eastern side and Kazakhstan

having the most coastline out of any of

the countries gets the largest portion

of the Caspian but if the Caspian is to

be considered a lake then international

law does not apply to its waters in the

same way instead each country gets 15

miles offshore for mineral extraction

like oil drilling and another 10 miles

for fishing and then the remaining

waters would technically be shared among

all of them many of the smaller nations

which border the Caspian fear this

because one neighbor of theirs in

particular has a bit of a history with

claiming land that's not theirs and then

defending it with their huge military so

if the Caspian was relegated to the

status of a lake countries like Russia

and Iran could bully countries like

Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan out of the

lake so despite being a lake perhaps

it's best to keep calling the Caspian an

ocean if only to help prevent further

conflict in the region and to help out

the smaller nations thanks for watching

I hope you guys enjoyed this one please

tell me what you think the Caspian

should be considered in the comments and

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already I'll be back next week with

another video thanks