Geophysics of the Black Sea Basin

  • Emil Vespremeanu
  • Mariana Golumbeanu
Part of the Springer Geography book series (SPRINGERGEOGR)


The Black Sea covers an area of 466,200 km2, while the its catchment basin’s area is of 1,874,904 km2, of which 0.817 million km2 belong to Danube River, representing 43.57% of the total. The total length of Black Sea catchment area’s watersheds is of 11,200 km, of which 8650 km on Europe territory. The Black Sea basin length between Burgas and Poti, on 45°30′ parallel is of 1200 km, while the maximum width is of 610 km and is reached in the Western part of the basin, between Oceanov and Eregli Cape. The average width is of 367.82 km. The maximum depth of the Black Sea is of 2245 m, according to the first Russian expeditions data. Recent measurements identified a maximum depth of only 2212 m (UNEP data). The Black Sea basin is a tectonic basin consisting of two compartments, Western and Eastern, separated by the Andrusov crest with a horst appearance. The entire region overlaps a basis developed on oceanic crust and continental crust unevenly distributed in West-East transversal profile of the basin. The relief of the Black Sea basin is divided, in terms of morphotectonic and morphostructure, in two regions: central and boundary. The central region, developed on the oceanic type basaltic crust and partially on the continental crust, encompasses the Euxinic Abyssal Plain located at depths under 2000 m. The primary tectonic relief was buried by the sediments deposited during the last 80–100 million years so that the actual relief, developed on fine and ultra-fine non consolidated sediments is particularly plain and smooth. The boundary region has a more complex structure. The relief of this region may be associated with the oceanic continental borders, showing significant differences on each of its sides. The morphogenesis of the Black Sea basin is due to the subsidence processes which followed the original continental rifting and which developed with different directions, intensities and rhythms in the two component basins of the Black Sea.


Depth Tectonic Ocean crust Continental crust Subsidence Rifting 


  1. Aksu AE, Hiskott RN, Yaşar D, Işlar D, Marsh S (2002) Seismic stratigraphy of late quaternary deposits from the southwestern Black Sea shelf: evidence for non-catastrophic variations in sea-level during the last 10.000 years. Mar Geol 190:61–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrusov NF (1905) Bosporus and Dardanelles: historical review of opinions of their origin. Zemlevedenie, (12)1–2:1–44 (in Russian)Google Scholar
  3. Ballard RD, Coleman DF, Rosenberg GD (2000) Further evidence of abrupt holocene drowning of the Black Sea shelf. Mar Geol 170:253–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Besiktepe S (2003) Density currents in the two-layer flow: an example of Dardanelles outflow. Oceanol Acta 26:243–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brătescu C (1942) Oscilaţiile de nivel ale apelor şi bazinului Mării Negre în cuaternar. Bul. Soc. Romane Regale de Geografie LXI:1–112. citările sunt din aceeaşi lucrare apărută în volumul Constantin Brătescu, Opere Alese, Ed. Ştiinţifică, 1967, pp. 193–278 (in Romanian)Google Scholar
  6. Brinkmann R (1974) Geologic relation between Black Sea and Anatolia. The Black Sea Geology, Chemistry and Biology. AAPG Memoire 20:63–76Google Scholar
  7. Cloetingh S, Spadini G, Van Wees JD, Beekman F (2003) Thermo-Mechanical modelling of Black Sea Basin (de)formation. Sed Geol 156:169–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cvijic J (1908) Grundlinien der geographie und geologie von mayzedonien und altserbien. Peterm. Mitt. Erganzngsh, vol. 162Google Scholar
  9. Degens ET, Paluska A (1979) Tectonic and climatic pulses recorded in quaternary sediments of the Caspian-Black Sea region. Sed Geol 23:149–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ducet N, Le Traon PY, Gauzelin P (1999) Response of the Black Sea mean level to atmospheric pressure and wind forcing. J Mar Syst 22:311–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gokasan E, Demirbag E, Oktaz FY, Ecevitoglu B, Şimşek M, Yuce H (1997) On the origin of the Bosphorus. Mar Geol 140:183–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gorur N, Namic Cagatay M, Emre O, Alpar B, Sakinc M, Islam- Oglu Y, Algan O, Erkal T, Kecer M, Akkok R, Karlik G (2001) Is the abrupt drowning of the Black Sea shelf. Mar Geol 176:65–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hippolyte J-C (2002) Geodynamics of dobrogea (Romania): new constraints on the evolution of the Tornquist-Teisseyre Line, the Black Sea and the Carphatians. Tectonophysics 357:33–35Google Scholar
  14. Hiscott RN, Aksu AE (2002) Late quaternary history of the Marmara Sea and Black Sea from high-resolution seismic and gravity-core studies. Mar Geol, 190:261–282Google Scholar
  15. Hiskott RN, Aksu AE, Yaşar D, Kaminski MA, Mudie PJ, Kostylev VE, Macdonald JC, Isler FI, Lord AR (2002) Deltas south of the Bosporus strait record persistent Black Sea outflow to the Marmara Sea. Mar Geol 190:95–118.
  16. Hovasse R (1938) Note oceanographique sur le bosphore. Bull. Inst. Oceanogr 739:1–8Google Scholar
  17. Hsu KJ (1978) Stratigraphy of the Lacustrine Sedimentation in the Black Sea. In: Ross DA, Neprochnov Yü.P (eds) Initial reports of the deep sea drilling project, 42(2):509–524Google Scholar
  18. Ionesi L (1994) Geologia unităţilor de platformă şi a orogenului Nord-Dobrogean. Ed. Tehnică, Bucureşti :280pGoogle Scholar
  19. Ivanov LI, Samodurov AS (2001) The role of lateral fluxes in ventilation of the Black Sea. J Mar Syst 31:159–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Konovalov SM (1995) Anthropogenic impact and ecosystems of the Black Sea. Bull de L’institut Oceanographique, Monaco 15:53–83Google Scholar
  21. Kutas RI, Kobolev VP, Tsvyashchenko VA (1998) Heat flow geothermal model of the Black Sea depression. Tectonophysics 291:91–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Latif MA, Ozosoy E, Unluata U (1991) Observations of the Mediterranean inflow into the Black Sea. Deep Sea Research 38(Supp 2):711–723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leonov AK (1960) Reghionalnaia Okeanografia. LeningradGoogle Scholar
  24. Maderich V, Konstantinov S (2002) Seasonal dynamics of the system sea-straits: Black Sea-Bosphorus Case Study. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 55:183–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Major C, Ryan W, Lericolais G, Hajdas I (2002) Constraints on Black Sea outflow to the sea of Marmara during the last glacial-interglacial transition. Mar Geol 190:19–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mudie PJ, Rochon A, Aksu AE (2002) Polen stratigraphy of late quaternary cores from Marmara Sea: Land-Sea correlation and paleoclimatic history. Mar Geol 190:233–260Google Scholar
  27. Murray J, Sir (1900) On the deposits of the Black Sea. Scottish Geographical Magazine December 1900Google Scholar
  28. Nikishin AM, Korotaev MV, Ershov AV, Brunet MF (2003) The Black Sea Basin: tectonic history and neogene-quaternary rapid subsidence modeling. Sed Geol 156:149–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Oguz T, Ozosoy E, Latif MA, Unluata U (1990) Modeling of hydraulically controlled exchange flow in the Bosphorus Strait. J Phys Oceanogr 20:945–965CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Oktay FY, Sakinc M (1991) The Late Quaternarytectonics of the Istanbul Graben and the Origin of the Bosphorus. Terra Abstracts, Eug. 6, Strasbourg 3(1):351pGoogle Scholar
  31. Oktay FY, Gokosan E, Sakinc M, Yaltirak C, Imren C, Demirbag E (2002) The effects of the north Anatolian fault zone on the latest connection between Black Sea and Sea of Marmara. Mar Geol 190:367–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ozsoy E, Beşiktepe Ş (1991) Sources of double diffusive convection and impacts on mixing in the Black Sea. In: Izdar E, Murray JM (eds) Black Sea Oceanography, KulverGoogle Scholar
  33. Ozsoy E, Unluata U (1997) Oceanography of the Black Sea: a review of some recent results. Earth-Sci Rev 42:231–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Peneva E, Stanev E, Bolokopytov V, Le Traon PY (2001) Water transport in the Bosphorus Strait estimated from hydro-meteorological and altimeter data: seasonal to decade variability. J Mar Syst 31:21–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Penk W (1919) Grundzuge der geologie des bosphorus. Veroff. Ins. Meeresk. Berlin, N.F, Heft 4:72 pGoogle Scholar
  36. Pfannenstiel M (1944) Diluviale geologie des mittelmeergebietes, die diluvialen entwiklundgstadien und die urgeschichte von Dardanellen, Marmara Meer und Bosphorus. Geol Rundsch 34:334–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Philippson A (1898) Bosporus Und Hellespont. Geograph. Zeitschrift, Band 4Google Scholar
  38. Pirazolli PA (1996) Sea level changes: the last 20.000 years. Ed. WileyGoogle Scholar
  39. Ross DA, Uchupi E, Bowin CO (1974) Shallow structure of Black Sea. The Black Sea Geology, Chemistry, and Bology. AAPG Memoir 20:11–34Google Scholar
  40. Ryan WBF, Pitman III W (1998) Noah’s flood. The new scientific discoveries about the event that changed history. Ed. Simon and Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  41. Ryan WBF, Pitman WC III, Major CO, Shimkus K, Moskalenko V, Jones JA, Dimitrov P, Gorur N, Sakinc M, Yuce H (1997) B, An abrupt drowning of the Black Sea Shelf. Mar Geol 138:119–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Săndulescu M (1984) Geotectonica României. Ed. Tehnică, Bucureşti, 336p. (In Romanian)Google Scholar
  43. Sholten R (1974) Role of the bosporus in Black Sea chemistry and sedimentation. The Black Sea geology, chemistry and biology, Aapg, Tulsa, OklahomaGoogle Scholar
  44. Sorokin YI (1982) The Black Sea: nature, resources. Ed. Nauka, Moskwa, 216 (In Russian)Google Scholar
  45. Stanev EV, Simeonov JA, Peneva EL (2001) Ventilation of Black Sea pycnocline by the Mediterranean Plume. J Mar Syst 31:77–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stille H (1953) Der geotektonishe Werdegang de karpaten, Geol. Jahrb, Beih, 8:239 pGoogle Scholar
  47. Stoffers P, Muller G (1978) Mineralogy and lithofacies of Black Sea sediments Leg. 42 B Deep Sea Drilling Project. In Black Sea–geology, chemistry and biology. AAPG Mem. 1–10, Tulsa, OklahomaGoogle Scholar
  48. Uchupi E, Ross DA (2000) Early Holocene marine flooding of the Black Sea. Quat Res 54:68–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ullyot P, Ilgaz O (1946) The hydrography of the bosporus. Geogr. Rev 36:44–66Google Scholar
  50. Unluata U, Oguz T, Latif MA, Ozosoy E (1990) On the physical oceanography of the Turkish Straits. In: Pratt LJ (ed) The physical oceanography of sea straits. Edit, KulverGoogle Scholar
  51. Vespremeanu E (1989) Progrese în cunoaşterea reliefului litoral şi submarin cu privire specială asupra bazinului Mării Negre. Terra, 3–4 (In Romanian)Google Scholar
  52. von Hoff KEA (1822) Geschichte der durch uberlieferung nachgewiessenen naturlichen veranderungen der Erdoberflache. 105–144 ppGoogle Scholar
  53. Yilmaz Y (2003) Morphotectonic Development of the Southern Black Sea region and the surroundings. 2003 Seattle annual meeting (November 2–5, 2003), Session No. 189: “Noah Flood” and late quaternary geological and Archaeological History of the Black Sea and adjacent basinsGoogle Scholar
  54. Yuce H (1996) Mediterranean water in the strait of Istanbul (Bosphorus) and Black Sea exit. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 43:597–616CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of GeographyUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania
  2. 2.The National Institute for Marine Research and Development “Grigore Antipa”ConstantaRomania

Personalised recommendations