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Image Caption: STS060-085-0BT Sea of Azov, Ukraine February 1994
The sediment-laden Sea of Azov (center of the photograph), an arm of the Black Sea (dark blue), can be seen in this northeast-looking, low-oblique photograph. The Sea of Azov, rich with fish, lies between the Crimean Peninsula to the west, the eastern Ukrainian coast to the north, and the north Caucasus to the east. The sea, connected to the Black Sea by Kerch Strait, is 210 miles (340 kilometers) long, 85 miles (137 kilometers) wide, and covers 14 515 square miles (37 606 square kilometers). The narrow eastern part of the sea, which forms the Gulf of Taganrogskiy, receives the Don River. To the west, the Arabat Tongue, a 70-mile- (110-kilometer-) long peninsula, separates the Sea of Azov from the Putrid Sea, a 1000-square-mile (2590-square-kilometer) salty backwater along the northeast coast of the Crimea. The flat-bottomed Sea of Azov has a maximum depth of 46 feet (14 meters) and is considered the world's shallowest sea; its water is constantly replenished by the Don and Kuban' Rivers. The coastal waters are frozen (visible in the photograph) from the end of December through February. A counterclockwise current, impelled by prevailing westerly winds, parallels the coasts.