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Caspian Sea

Caspian Sea
Lake information
NameCaspian Sea
Lake typeEndorheic, Saline, Permanent, Natural
Primary inflowsVolga River, Ural River, Kura River, Terek River
Primary outflowsEvaporation
Catchment area3626000 km2 (1400006.4 sqmi)
Basin countriesAzerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan
Max. length1030 km (640 mi)
Max. width435 km (270.3 mi)
Surface area371000 km2 (143243.9 sqmi)
Average depth187 m (72.2 sqmi)
Max. depth1025 m (0.6 mi)
Water volume69400 km3 (26795.5 c�mi)
Residence time250 years
Shore length7000 km (4349.6 mi)
Surface elevation-28 m (-91.9 ft)
Islands in lakes26+ (see Island below)
SettlementsBaku (Azerbaijan), Rasht (Iran), Aktau (Kazakhstan), Makhachkala (Russia), Türkmenbaşy (Turkmenistan) (see article)

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The Caspian Sea ( , , , , , ) is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of 371000 km2 (230.5 mi2) (not including Garabogazköl Aylagy) and a volume of 78200 km3 (18761.2 cumi). It is in an endorheic basin (it has no outflows) and is bounded to the north by Russia, to the south by Iran, western Azerbaijan, and eastern Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

The ancient inhabitants of its littoral perceived the Caspian Sea as an ocean, probably because of its saltiness and seeming boundlessness. It has a salinity of approximately 1.2%, about a third the salinity of most seawater. The Caspian Sea has been called Gilan (گیلان or دریای گیلان) on ancient maps. In Iran, it is referred to as Daryâ-ye Mazandaran (دریای مازندران), meaning "the Sea of Mazandaran" in Persian, and sometimes also as Daryâ-ye Khazar.

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