Gulf of Bothnia

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bothnia, Gulf of


(Swedish, Bottniska viken; Finnish, Pojanlahti; from the name of the historic Swedish province Bothnia—Swedish, Botten, literally, ground, soil), the northern part of the Baltic Sea, between Sweden and Finland. Length, 668 km; greatest width, 240 km; area, 117,000 sq km.

The Vaasa reefs and shoals divide the gulf into two parts, the northern Bottenvik (Gulf of Bothnia) and the southern Bottenhavet (Sea of Bothnia), which are connected by the Norra Kvarken Strait. The gulf is connected to the Baltic Sea by the Södra Kvarken Bay between the Åland Islands and the Swedish coast. The coastal region abounds with small islands.

The greatest depth is 112 m in the northern part and 290 m in the southern. The surface current is counterclockwise. A northerly current of more saline water which originates in the northern part of the Baltic is observed in the layer near the seabed. The water temperature is approximately 0° C in February and 12–13° C in August. A large continental runoff (135 cu km annually) and heavy precipitation (26 cu km annually) determine the gulf’s low salinity (1–3 parts per thousand in the north and 4–5 parts per thousand in the south). Ice forms in October and November and remains in the north until early June. Tides are mixed in the south and diurnal in the north, reaching 0.1 m. The major harbors on the Gulf of Bothnia are Vaasa, Oulu, and Pori in Finland, and Lulea and Umea in Sweden.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.