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Ice Floes Off the Coast of Russia in the Sea of Okhotsk

59.3N 143.2E

March 14th, 2010 Category: Rivers

Russia - February 24th, 2010

Russia - February 24th, 2010

The terrain of Russian Siberia near the city of Okhotsk (shoreline, left, near the mouth of the Okhota River) appears white due to snow cover, as does much of the Sea of Okhotsk below, due to ice. Many large ice floes are visible off the coast.

The Sea of Okhotsk is a part of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaidō to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast (including the Shantar Islands) along the west and north.

The Sea covers 611,000 sq.mi. (1,583,000 km2.), with a mean depth of 2,818 feet (859 metres). Its maximum depth is 11,063 feet (3,372 metres).

In winter, navigation on the Sea of Okhotsk becomes difficult, or even impossible, due to the formation of large ice floes, because the large amount of freshwater from the Amur River lowers the salinity and raises the freezing point of the sea. The distribution and thickness of ice floes depends on many factors: the location, the time of year, water currents, and the sea temperatures.

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