The answers to this quiz appear in blue below each question.
1. Three of these statements about the large water body are false. Which
one is true?
(A) The deepest portion of the water body is less than 2000 meters deep.
(B) The shallow waters of the northwest section of the water body are
less saline than in deeper waters.
(C) A rich biological community of worms and crustaceans thrive in the
mud below 180 meters depth.
(D) Algae and plankton form a vast and productive underwater "meadow" in
the relatively shallow northern waters.
Answer: B is true
The Black Sea is the largest anoxic (oxygen poor) sea in the world. The deepest
part of the Sea is over 2 kilometers, but there is very little oxygen below the top
few hundred meters. Replenishment of the bottom waters of sea with new sea
water from the Mediterranean is slow, and there is very little circulation between
the relatively fresh shallow waters and the saltier, oxygen poor waters at great
depths. The bacteria in the bottom waters quickly consume the available oxygen
and the Sea is virtually dead below the top 200 meters. Despite this situation, its
surface waters have supported a rich and diverse marine life. The relatively
shallow north-western part of the Black Sea was virtually covered with "underwater
meadows" known as Zernov's Phyllophora fields. The rivers which drain to the Sea
provided the nutrients essential for marine plants and algae, until over-fertilization from
agriculture and industry in the 1970s and 1980s caused the Phyllophora ecosystem to
suffer a catastrophic collapse.
2. Three of these statements about the large water body are true. Which
one is false?
(A) The pale blue swirls of color in these waters indicate calcareous
phytoplankton called coccolithophores.
(B) Since the 1960s, coccolithophores have become more abundant, and
diatoms (another type of phytoplankton) have decreased.
(C) Early seafarers used the prevailing clockwise circulation of the
currents to navigate these waters.
(D) Archaeological relics discovered under 100 meters of water indicate
that the coastline was lower several thousand years ago than today.
Answer: C is false
One group of phytoplankton that are identifiable from space are calcareous phytoplankton
called coccolithophores; and judging by the milky turquoise color of the swirls, it is probable
that coccolithophores were in bloom. The increased nitrogen content of river waters entering
the Sea since the early 1970s is part of the reason for an increase in coccolithophores and
a decrease in diatoms (siliceous plankton) since that time. The Black Sea current runs
counterclockwise and was utilized by early navigators. The Sea is a rich source of
archaeological relics, since many ancient wooden vessels are preserved in the
oxygen-deprived waters. One archaeological site from which ships and relics were
recovered is situated below 100 meters of water in an area that appears to have been
a coastline several thousand years ago.
3. Three of these statements about human activities within the area are
true. Which one is false?
(A) There have been more than 10 geological studies conducted to
determine the petroleum potential of the region.
(B) More than 20 fish species once found in the large water body have
become "commercially extinct" over the last 50 years.
(C) One country within the image area is reported to have a 99.7%
literacy rate or better.
(D) Many of the navigable rivers are forced to close for up to one month
Answer: D is false
An array of geological studies and surveys have been conducted to assess
the oil and gas resources od the Black Sea. The traditional livelihood of fishing
in the Sea has been suffering in recent years, with 21 of the 26 major species
now considered "commercially extinct" due to over-fishing, pollution and
invasive species. The literacy rate (the proportion of people aged 15 and over
who can read and write) in both Romania and Ukraine is high, but the literacy
rate for Ukraine is especially high at 99.7% for the year 2003. The region can
become bitterly cold in winter, with temperatures recorded as low as -30 degrees
Celsius. During the winters of 1928-1929, 1953-1954, 1941-1942, 1984-1985,
many coastal areas were frozen for 45-60 days. Only the north-western part of
the Black Sea ices over during such cold winters, but within this area ports and
rivers can freeze for more than a month. Whilst important ports and navigable
rivers are kept open by ice-breakers, rivers that are not broken up by
ice-breakers may freeze for two months.
4. Three of these statements about the river whose delta, or mouth,
appears along the lower left-hand edge are false. Which one is true?
(A) The freshwater inflow from this river to the large water body is
approximately twice the amount of saltwater inflow to the large water
(B) The entire river delta falls under the jurisdiction of one country.
(C) Contaminated water from a mining disaster that occurred hundreds of
kilometers upstream (in January 2000), took less than 30 days to reach
the river mouth.
(D) Over the past 20 years, the discharge of nitrates and phosphates from
this river have decreased compared with 1960s levels.
Answer: C is true
About 60% of the total freshwater inflow to the Black Sea comes from
the Danube River (about 200 km3/year), and the volume of saltwater
flowing to the Black Sea through the Bosporus is estimated to be
between 120 km3/year and 315 km3/year. Thus, the volume of inflow
from the Danube is not twice the volume of the inflow from the Bosporus.
Most of the Danube Delta falls under the jurisdiction of Romania, but a
small northerly portion of the Delta falls under Ukrainian jurisdiction. When
the Baia Mare mining disaster contaminated the Tizsa River on January
30, 2000, contaminated water was brought down the Tizsa and into the
Danube, and the cyanide pollution from the tailings overflow was detected
at the mouth of the Danube on February 25. The nutrient discharge from the
Danube to the Black Sea has been relatively stable for phosphates, but
nitrogen levels are about four times those observed in the 1960s.
5. A rare bird that can weigh more than 45 pounds is known to inhabit:
(A) a nature preserve situated along the wide river that flows from the
top of the image nearest to the right,
(B) lands surrounding the shallow, mineral-rich, pink and green-colored
lagoons that extend from the upper right-hand edge of the image,
(C) neither of these places, or;
(D) both of these places.
The Great Bustard (Otis tarda) is the largest land bird in Ukraine. Adult
Great Bustards can reach about 48 pounds. The Askania-Nova Biosphere
Reserve along the Dnieper River provides habitat for the Great Bustard.
There are also a number of Great Bustards found in the Sivash (or Syvash)
area, where a series of shallow, mineral-rich lagoons connect the Black Sea
with the Sea of Azov. The Western and Central Syvash lagoons appear here
as the pink and green-colored water bodies in the upper right-hand corner.
6. A sinuous river curves toward the large water body in the upper-central
portion of the image. Near the mouth of this river, a small orange spot
can be discerned along the right-hand bank, near a small city known by
two names. Name the most likely cause for the orange color at that
The orange area referred to is situated along the eastern (right-hand) shore
of the Bug River, about 20 kilometers south of the city of Mikolayiv (or
Nikolaev). The most likely cause of the orange color is "red mud", which
is waste from the bauxite refining process. The area is likely to be an artificial
lake or other storage area used to accumulate slurry, and the waste probably
comes from the large Mikolayiv Alumina Plant.
MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Pasadena, CA, for NASA's Office of Earth Science, Washington, DC. The
Terra satellite is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center,
Greenbelt, MD. JPL is a division of the California Institute of