From there, in 1492, a merchant fleet laden with grain and carrying ambassadors of Ivan III of Russia sailed to Denmark, marking the establishment of the first international seaport in Russia. Returning from Russia in 1554, Chancellor brought back a detailed description of Moscow and the Russian north, which were largely unknown to Europe, as well as a letter from the Tsar expressing desire to establish trade relations with England. An image Lyagushkin titled “Cosmic Brain” features a Mnemiopsis ctenophore, also known as a sea walnut or comb jelly, floating close to the ice. Spending hours in subzero temperatures is physically exhausting, and also hard on the diving equipment. From the 1920s, most northern Russian sea shipments diverted from the White Sea to the new port of Murmansk (officially founded in 1916), where the waters did not freeze in winter. Ice thickness is usually about 40 cm but may reach 150 cm in cold winters. [1][2], The seabed of the central part and Dvina Bay is covered in silt and sand, whereas the bottom of the northern part, the Kandalaksha Gulf and Onega Bay is a mixture of sand and stones. Is it outer space or underwater? [1][3] The depth distribution of water temperature is very inhomogeneous across the sea. Although Lyagushkin has shot many underwater landscapes in the past, this project marks the first time he used a fisheye macro lens, enabling him to make detailed images of the tiny sea creatures, as well as their surroundings. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. On the south, Onega Bay receives the Onega River. The main island group is the Solovetsky Islands, located almost in the middle of the sea, near the entrance to Onega Bay. Over 28 days in April, Lyagushkin spent around three hours a day under this ice in northwest Russia, photographing its incredible sea life including sea angels, caprellas, jellyfish, soft corals, and sea anemones. [5][9], Between the 15th and early 18th centuries, the White Sea served as the major trade route in and out of Russia. The shrimp are tiny but very active; they eat and fight with each other non-stop. These variations are due to the distribution of water salinity across the sea, which increases from 24 to 26‰ in the centre to 30.5‰ in the gorlo, reaching 34.0–34.5‰ toward the Barents Sea. [3], In summer, surface water warms up to 15 °С in the central part, but remains relatively cold in the north, at 7–8 °С, due to the water exchange between the surface and the cold bottom part which is enhanced by the shallow depths in the northern parts. These bays connect with the funnel-shaped opening to the Barents Sea via a narrow strait called "Gorlo" (Russian: Горло, meaning "throat"). In general, he says, we know very little about the rich life in the seas. The Baltic Sea, in turn, is connected by the Volga–Baltic Waterway to the Volga River, Black, Caspian, and Azov seas. It is one of two members of the family Monodontidae, along with the narwhal, and the only member of the genus Delphinapterus. To the southeast, the Dvina Bay receives the Northern Dvina at the major port of Arkhangelsk. The beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) is an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean. Well, actually, it’s very, very rare that we’ll ever see one in our lifetime. In general, he says, we know very little about the rich life in the seas. [1], The sea hosts more than 700 species of invertebrates, about 60 species of fish, and five species of marine mammals, including friendly beluga, the white whale. See the Amazing, Ethereal Creatures Living Under Arctic Ice. [12] The fishing industry is relatively small, mostly targeting harp seal, ringed seal, herring, saffron cod, European smelt, Atlantic cod and Atlantic salmon. [4], There are four main bays or gulfs on the White Sea. Increasing traffic overloaded the port, which relied on shallow river-waters and had limited ship-capacity. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Sea & Ocean Animals Coloring pages. “It’s a great joy to shoot sea angels,” he says. The White Sea–Baltic Canal connects the White Sea with the Baltic Sea. [7][8], Dutch ships soon followed the English, and the port of Kholmogory became busy with shipments of fur and fish. [6] Together with two other ships under the command of Hugh Willoughby, his crew had sought a northern route to the Indies, especially India and China. On another dive, he witnessed a sublime underwater snowfall, which occurred when snow fell through the hole in the ice and was unable to melt in the salty, subfreezing water. With the work, Lyagushkin aims to show the “smallest creatures living with us in this enormous world.” His work highlights the way these animals live together in the White Sea, the only inland sea that freezes annually. The inflow of fresh water in spring decreases the surface salinity in the top 5–10-metre layer to 23‰ (parts per thousand) in the eastern and 26–27‰ in the western parts of the sea, reaching 10–12‰ in Dvina Bay; it also increases the content of silicon and silicates in water, which is a characteristic feature of the White Sea. For much of Russia's history this was Russia's main centre of international maritime trade, conducted by the Pomors ("seaside settlers") from Kholmogory. Ice age deposits often emerge near the sea shores. One of the earliest settlements near the sea shores grew up in the late 14th century at Kholmogory, on the Northern Dvina. About 40% of this volume is brought during the snow melting in May, and the inflow is minimal in February–March. Sea animals featured in these sets incude coral reef fishes, jellyfish, starfish, seahorse, crab, octopus, dolphins, sharks, whales, orca, and sea turtles. It’s one of Lyagushkin’s favorite pictures. This hinders water exchange between the White and Barents seas. We will not just see which animals sport these shades, but will also see how this unique coloration helps these animals when it comes to survival. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. Lyagushkin describes the dramatic scenes under the ice as otherworldly, and compares entering the water through a hole in the ice to Alice descending through a rabbit hole on the way to Wonderland. Its bottom is very uneven and contains the Kandalaksha Hollow in the northwest and the Solovetsky Islands in the south. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. [3], The climate varies between polar and moderate continental with frequent fogs and clouds. He says it looks like something that could illustrate Herbert Wells’ celebrated science fiction novels. What’s more, Lyagushkin prefers to work with one or two assistants, and since they can’t speak underwater, they’ve developed special hand signals to communicate about where to position, and reposition, the lighting equipment. This inflow raises and lowers the sea level that promotes the water exchange with the Barents Sea. Although albino animals are beautiful, their unique appearance makes survival in the wild difficult. During one recent September, he made a trip there to photograph jellyfish, but they had all died due to an abnormally hot summer. [2], The White Sea is a water-filled depression in the block of a continental shelf known as the Baltic Shield. To capture some of the White Sea’s littlest invertebrates, Lyagushkin uses both strobe and continuous lighting to show the animals in their aqueous environment, which is darkened by the ice cover above. [1], The White Sea contains a large number of islands, but most of them are small. He asked Mikhail Safonov, the founder and managing director of the Arctic Circle PADI Dive Centre and Lodge, what was going on. Also, the Onega Bay has many small underwater elevations. Though small, just seven to 10 centimeters across, Lyagushkin imagines the ctenophore as a “giant and majestic alien brain living in a green world.”. Winds are predominantly southwestern in winter with speeds of 4–8 m/s. The waters of the White Sea are actually green, says photographer Viktor Lyagushkin, thanks to abundant phytoplankton in these icy waters straddling the Arctic Circle. There is a developing seaweed industry. Annual precipitations increase from 282 mm in the north 529 in the south. They bring cold air from the south, establishing the temperature of about −15 °C (February) over most of the sea. [3], Residents of Novgorod knew of the White Sea from at least the 11th century and rapidly explored its commercial significance for navigation and its coastal forests rich in fur animals. Christmas Tree Worms, which can be found in warm, tropical waters ranging from the Caribbean to Indonesia, earned their… Arctic anticyclones, however, change winds to the northeastern ones, bringing much colder weather with temperatures of about −25 °C. For example, at the exit from Dvina Bay, water temperature drops to 0 °C at the depth of only 12–15 m, but the same temperature is reached at 65 m at the exit from the Kandalaksha Gulf. Under the Arctic ice is a cosmos of spectacular and rarely seen bioluminescent creatures with an otherworldly quality. [1] The ice is not stationary, but 90% of it is floating and is continuously removed to the Barents Sea. [1][2][3], The White Sea is an important traffic centre of northwestern Russia, interconnecting various economic regions and providing an outlet to the foreign routes. [3], Storms are the strongest in October–November. The Northern Dvina alone may contribute up to 171 km3 in some years, with the Mezen, Onega, Kem and Vyg rivers adding up to 38.5, 27.0, 12.5 and 11.5 km3, respectively. The sea is quiet in July–August. [1][3], In winter, from October–November to May–June, the sea freezes, with the average January water temperatures of −1.9 °C in the north, between −1.3 and −1.7 °С in the centre, and between −0.5 and −0.7 °С in the bays. However, instead of expanding the old port, Ivan IV established a new one down-river in 1584, called New Kholmogory, which from 1596 began to become known as Arkhangelsk. The Solovetsky Islands in the satellite image to the northeastern ones, much! 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