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Coordinates: 66°0′N 169°0′W / 66.000°N 169.000°W / 66.000; -169.000

Satellite photo of the Bering Strait

Nautical chart of the Bering Strait

The Peters map is parted in the Bering Strait.[1] On other maps a part of Russia
Russia
is shown left of Alaska.

The Bering Strait
Strait
(Russian: Берингов пролив,[2] Beringov proliv, Yupik: Imakpik[3][4]) is a strait of the Pacific, which borders with the Arctic to north. It is located between Russia
Russia
and the United States. Named after Vitus Bering, a Danish explorer in the service of the Russian Empire, it lies slightly south of the Arctic Circle being at about 65° 40' N latitude. The present Russia-US east-west boundary is at 168° 58' 37" W. The Strait
Strait
has been the subject of the scientific hypothesis that humans migrated from Asia
Asia
to North America across a land bridge known as Beringia
Beringia
when lower ocean levels – perhaps a result of glaciers locking up vast amounts of water – exposed a wide stretch of the sea floor,[5] both at the present strait and in the shallow sea north and south of it. This view of how Paleo-Indians entered America has been the dominant one for several decades and continues to be the most accepted one. Numerous successful crossings without the use of a boat have also been recorded since at least the early 20th century. Since 2012, the Russian coast of the Bering Strait
Strait
has been a closed military zone. Through organized trips and the use of special permits, it is possible for foreigners to visit. All arrivals must be through an airport or a cruise port, near the Bering Strait
Strait
only at Anadyr or Provideniya. Unauthorized travelers who arrive on shore after crossing the strait, even those with visas, may be arrested, imprisoned briefly, fined, deported and banned from future visas.[6]

Contents

1 Geography and science 2 Population 3 Expeditions 4 Proposed tunnel 5 Proposed dam 6 "Ice Curtain" border 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

Geography and science[edit] The Bering Strait
Strait
is about 82 kilometres (51 mi) wide at its narrowest point, between Cape Dezhnev, Chukchi Peninsula, Russia, the easternmost point (169° 43' W) of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, United States, the westernmost point (168° 05' W) of the North American continent. Its depth varies between 30 metres (98 ft) and 50 metres (160 ft).[7] It borders with the Chukchi Sea
Chukchi Sea
(part of the Arctic Ocean) to north and with the Bering Sea to south. The International Date Line
International Date Line
runs equidistant between the Strait's Diomede Islands
Diomede Islands
at a distance of 1.5 km (1 mi), leaving the Russian and American sides usually on different calendar days, with Cape Dezhnev
Cape Dezhnev
21 hours ahead of the American side (20 hours during daylight saving time). Population[edit] The area is sparsely populated. The eastern coast belongs to the U.S. state
U.S. state
of Alaska. Notable towns that straddle the Strait
Strait
include Nome (3,788 people) and the small settlement of Teller (228 people). The western coast belongs to the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, a Federal subject of Russia. Major towns that lie along the Strait
Strait
include Lorino (1,267 people) and Lavrentiya
Lavrentiya
(1,459 people). The Diomede Islands
Diomede Islands
lie midway in the Strait. The village in Little Diomede has a school which belongs to Alaska's Bering Strait
Strait
School District. Expeditions[edit]

Defense Mapping Agency
Defense Mapping Agency
topographical map of the Bering Strait, 1973

The earliest reference of the strait were from maps from the Polo family; based on the adventures of Marco Polo.[8] From at least 1562, European geographers thought that there was a Strait
Strait
of Anián between Asia
Asia
and North America. In 1648, Semyon Dezhnyov
Semyon Dezhnyov
probably passed through the strait, but his report did not reach Europe. Danish-born Russian navigator Vitus Bering
Vitus Bering
entered it in 1728. In 1732, Mikhail Gvozdev crossed it for the first time, from Asia
Asia
to America. Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld in 1878–79 sailed along the northern coast of Siberia, thereby proving that there was no northern land bridge from Asia
Asia
to North America. In March 1913, Captain Max Gottschalk (German) crossed from the east cape of Siberia
Siberia
to Shishmaref, Alaska, on dogsled via Little and Big Diomede islands. He was the first documented modern voyager to cross from Russia
Russia
to North America without the use of a boat.[9] In 1987, swimmer Lynne Cox
Lynne Cox
swam a 4.3-kilometre (2.7 mi) course between the Diomede Islands
Diomede Islands
from Alaska
Alaska
to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in 3.3 °C (37.9 °F) water during the last years of the Cold War.[10] In June and July 1989, three teams of sea kayakers combined to attempt the first modern sea kayak crossing of the Bering Strait. The groups were seven Alaskans referring to their effort as 'Paddling Into Tomorrow' (crossing the international dateline), a four-man British expedition, Kayaks Across the Bering Strait
Strait
and an unnamed group of three Californians. In 1998, Russian adventurer Dmitry Shparo
Dmitry Shparo
and his son Matvey made the modern crossing of the frozen Bering Strait
Strait
on skis. In March 2006, Briton Karl Bushby
Karl Bushby
and French-American adventurer Dimitri Kieffer crossed the strait on foot, walking across a frozen 90 km (56 mi) section in 15 days.[11] They were soon arrested for not entering Russia
Russia
through a border control.[12] August 2008 marked the first crossing of the Bering Strait
Strait
using an amphibious road-going vehicle. The specially modified Land Rover Defender 110 was driven by Steve Burgess and Dan Evans across the straits on its second attempt following the interruption of the first by bad weather.[13] In February 2012, Korean team led by Hong Sung-Taek
Hong Sung-Taek
crossed the straits on foot in six days. They started from Chukotka Peninsula, the east coast of Russia
Russia
on February 23 and arrived in Wales, the western coastal town in Alaska
Alaska
on February 29.[14] In July, 2012, six adventurers associated with "Dangerous Waters," a reality adventure show under production, made the crossing on Sea-Doos but were arrested and permitted to return to Alaska
Alaska
on their Sea-Doos after being briefly detained in Lavrentiya, administrative center of the Chukotsky District. They were treated well and given a tour of the village's museum, but not permitted to continue south along the Pacific
Pacific
coast. The men had visas but the western coast of the Bering Strait
Strait
is a closed military zone.[6] Between August 4 and 10 (US dates), 2013, a team of 65 swimmers from 17 countries performed a relay swim across the Bering Strait, the first such swim in history. They swam from Cape Dezhnev, Russia, to Cape Prince of Wales, United States
United States
(roughly 110 km, due to the current).[15][16] They had direct support from the Russian Navy, using one of its ships, and assistance with permission. Proposed tunnel[edit] Main article: Bering Strait
Strait
crossing A physical link between Asia
Asia
and North America via the Bering Strait nearly became a reality in 1864 when a Russian-American telegraph company began preparations for an overland telegraph line connecting Europe and America via the east. It was abandoned when the undersea Atlantic Cable
Atlantic Cable
proved successful.[citation needed] A further proposal for a bridge-and-tunnel link from Siberia
Siberia
to Alaska was made by French engineer Baron Loicq de Lobel in 1906. Czar Nicholas II of Russia
Russia
issued an order authorising a Franco-American syndicate represented by de Lobel to begin work on the Trans-Siberian Alaska
Alaska
railroad project, but no physical work ever commenced.[17][18][19][20][21] Suggestions have been made to construct a Bering Strait
Strait
bridge between Alaska
Alaska
and Siberia. However, despite the unprecedented engineering, political, and financial challenges, Russia
Russia
green-lighted the US $65-billion TKM-World Link
TKM-World Link
tunnel project in August 2011. If completed, the 103 km (64 mile) project would be the world's longest.[22] China is considering construction of a "China-Russia-Canada-America" railroad line that would include construction of a 200 km (120 mi) long underwater tunnel that would cross the Bering Strait.[23] Proposed dam[edit] In 1956, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
proposed to the US a joint bi-national project to warm the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
and melt some of the ice cap. As designed by Petr Borisov, the Soviet project called for a 90 km (56 mi) wide dam across the Bering Strait. It would block the cold Pacific
Pacific
current from entering the Arctic. By pumping low-salinity cold surface water across the dam to the Pacific, warmer and higher salinity sea water from the Atlantic Ocean
Ocean
would be introduced into the Arctic Ocean.[24][25][26] However, citing national security concerns, the CIA and FBI experts opposed the Soviet plan by arguing that while the plan was feasible, it would compromise NORAD
NORAD
and thus the dam could be built at only an immense cost.[27] Soviet scientist D. A. Drogaytsev, also opposed the idea, stating that the sea north of the dam and north-flowing rivers in Siberia
Siberia
would become unnavigable year round, and extend the Gobi and other deserts to the northern Siberia
Siberia
coastline.[24] American Charles P. Steinmetz
Charles P. Steinmetz
earlier proposed to widen the Bering Strait
Strait
by removing St. Lawrence Island
St. Lawrence Island
and parts of Seward and Chukotski Peninsulas. A strait 200 miles wide would let the Japan Current melt the Arctic Ocean.[24] In the 21st century another dam has also been proposed, however the aim of the proposal is to preserve the Arctic ice cap against global warming.[28] "Ice Curtain" border[edit]

Little Diomede
Little Diomede
Island (US, left) and Big Diomede Island (Russia, right)

During the Cold War, the Bering Strait
Strait
marked the border between the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and the United States. The Diomede Islands—Big Diomede (Russia) and Little Diomede
Little Diomede
(US)—are only 3.8 km (2.4 mi) apart. Traditionally, the indigenous peoples in the area had frequently crossed the border back and forth for "routine visits, seasonal festivals and subsistence trade", but were prevented from doing so during the Cold War.[29] The border became known as the "Ice Curtain".[30] It was completely closed, and there was no regular passenger air or boat traffic. In 1987, American swimmer Lynne Cox symbolically helped ease tensions between the two countries by swimming across the border[31] and was congratulated jointly by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Since 1990, tourist air and boat traffic has resumed, but is hampered by the need for visas and special military visit permits asked by US authorities and also by their Russian counterparts.[citation needed] See also[edit]

Geography portal

List of Russian explorers Old Bering Sea

References[edit]

^ http://www.wall-maps.com/World/PetersProjection-over.gif ^ Карта Ледовитого моря и Восточного океана (1844) ^ Forbes, Jack D. 2007. The American Discovery of Europe. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, pp. 84 ff., 198, ^ Stuckey, M., & J. Murphy. 2001. By Any Other Name: Rhetorical Colonialism in North America. American Indian Culture, Research Journal 25(4): 73–98, p. 80. ^ Beck, Roger B.; Linda Black; Larry S. Krieger; Phillip C. Naylor; Dahia Ibo Shabaka (1999). World History: Patterns of Interaction. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell. ISBN 0-395-87274-X.  ^ a b Andrew Roth (July 11, 2012). "Journey by Sea Takes Awkward Turn in Russia". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2012.  ^ It is only 53 miles (85 km) wide, and at its deepest point is only 90 metres (300 ft) in depth. [1] ^ Klein, Christopher (September 30, 2014). "Did Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Visit Alaska?". History.  ^ The Victoria Advocate February 1 1938 ^ Watts, Simon. (2012-08-08) BBC News – Swim that broke Cold War
Cold War
ice curtain. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved on 2013-07-29. ^ "Epic explorer crosses frozen sea". BBC News. 3 April 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2012.  ^ "Epic explorer detained in Russia". BBC News. 4 April 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2012.  ^ "Cape to Cape Expedition". Retrieved 13 January 2012.  ^ The Korea Herald. "Korean team crosses Bering Strait". koreaherald.com.  ^ "ТАСС: Спорт – На Аляске завершилась международная эстафета "моржей", переплывших Берингов пролив". ТАСС.  ^ "Bering Strait
Strait
Swim – Russia
Russia
to America". Facebook.  ^ "San Francisco to St Petersburg by Rail! If the Tunnel is driven under Bering Strait
Strait
will Orient meet Occident with Smile – or with Sword?". San Francisco Call. September 2, 1906. Retrieved April 23, 2016.  ^ "Thinking Big: Roads and Railroads to Siberia". InterBering LLC. Retrieved April 23, 2016.  ^ Loicq de Lobel (August 2, 1906). "Le Klondyke, l'Alaska, le Yukon et les Iles Aléoutienne". Société Française d'Editions d'Art. Retrieved April 23, 2016.  ^ "FOR BERING STRAIT BRIDGE". New York Times. August 2, 1906. Retrieved April 23, 2016.  ^ James A. Oliver (2006). The Bering Strait
Strait
Crossing: A 21st Century Frontier Between East and West.  ^ Halpin, Tony (2011-08-20). " Russia
Russia
plans $65bn tunnel to America". The Sunday Times.  ^ Tharoor, Ishaan (2014-05-09). "China may build an undersea train to America". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-05-14.  ^ a b c Ley, Willy (June 1961). "The Strait
Strait
Named After Vitus Bering". For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 37–51.  ^ https://gizmodo.com/5680669/thawing-the-arctic---soviet-russias-cold-war-war-on-cold ^ https://www.vice.com/read/the-soviet-scientist-who-dreamed-of-melting-the-arctic-with-a-55-mile-dam ^ " Ocean
Ocean
Dams Would Thaw North" Popular Mechanics, June 1956, p. 135. ^ http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/could-a-300-km-dam-save-the-arctic.html ^ State of Alaska
Alaska
website Archived 2009-08-31 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Lifting the Ice Curtain", Peter A. Iseman, The New York Times, October 23, 1988 ^ "Swimming to Antarctica", CBS News, September 17, 2003

Further reading[edit]

Oliver, James A. (2007). The Bering Strait
Strait
Crossing. Information Architects. ISBN 0-9546995-6-4.  " Russia
Russia
Plans World's Longest Undersea Tunnel". Daily Tech. 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2008-01-11.   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bering Island, Sea and Strait". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 775–776. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bering Strait.

PBS Video of St. Lawrence Island
St. Lawrence Island
in Bering Strait

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