Coordinates: 66°0′N 169°0′W / 66.000°N 169.000°W /
Satellite photo of the Bering Strait
Nautical chart of the Bering Strait
The Peters map is parted in the Bering Strait. On other maps a part
Russia is shown left of Alaska.
Strait (Russian: Берингов пролив, Beringov
proliv, Yupik: Imakpik) is a strait of the Pacific, which
borders with the Arctic to north. It is located between
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.
Strait has been the subject of the scientific hypothesis that
humans migrated from
Asia to North America across a land bridge known
Beringia when lower ocean levels – perhaps a result of
glaciers locking up vast amounts of water – exposed a wide
stretch of the sea floor, 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 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 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.
1 Geography and science
4 Proposed tunnel
5 Proposed dam
6 "Ice Curtain" border
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
Geography and science
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). It borders with the
Chukchi Sea (part of the Arctic Ocean) to north and with the Bering
Sea to south.
International Date Line
International Date Line runs equidistant between the Strait's
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 21 hours ahead of the American side (20 hours during
daylight saving time).
The area is sparsely populated.
The eastern coast belongs to the
U.S. state of Alaska. Notable towns
that straddle the
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
Lorino (1,267 people) and
Lavrentiya (1,459 people).
Diomede Islands lie midway in the Strait. The village in Little
Diomede has a school which belongs to Alaska's Bering
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. From at least 1562,
European geographers thought that there was a
Strait of Anián between
Asia and North America. In 1648,
Semyon Dezhnyov probably passed
through the strait, but his report did not reach Europe. Danish-born
Vitus Bering entered it in 1728. In 1732, Mikhail
Gvozdev crossed it for the first time, from
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 to North America.
In March 1913, Captain Max Gottschalk (German) crossed from the east
Siberia to Shishmaref, Alaska, on dogsled via Little and Big
Diomede islands. He was the first documented modern voyager to cross
Russia to North America without the use of a boat.
In 1987, swimmer
Lynne Cox swam a 4.3-kilometre (2.7 mi) course
Diomede Islands from
Alaska to the
Soviet Union in
3.3 °C (37.9 °F) water during the last years of the Cold
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 and an unnamed group of
In 1998, Russian adventurer
Dmitry Shparo and his son Matvey made the
modern crossing of the frozen Bering
Strait on skis.
In March 2006, Briton
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. They were soon
arrested for not entering
Russia through a border control.
August 2008 marked the first crossing of the Bering
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.
In February 2012, Korean team led by
Hong Sung-Taek crossed the
straits on foot in six days. They started from Chukotka Peninsula, the
east coast of
Russia on February 23 and arrived in Wales, the western
coastal town in
Alaska on February 29.
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 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 coast. The men had visas but the western coast of the Bering
Strait is a closed military zone.
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 (roughly 110 km, due to the
current). They had direct support from the Russian Navy, using
one of its ships, and assistance with permission.
Main article: Bering
A physical link between
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 proved successful.
A further proposal for a bridge-and-tunnel link from
Siberia to Alaska
was made by French engineer
Baron Loicq de Lobel in 1906. Czar
Nicholas II of
Russia issued an order authorising a Franco-American
syndicate represented by de Lobel to begin work on the Trans-Siberian
Alaska railroad project, but no physical work ever
Suggestions have been made to construct a Bering
Strait bridge between
Alaska and Siberia. However, despite the unprecedented engineering,
political, and financial challenges,
Russia green-lighted the US
TKM-World Link tunnel project in August 2011. If
completed, the 103 km (64 mile) project would be the world's
longest. 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.
In 1956, the
Soviet Union proposed to the US a joint bi-national
project to warm the
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
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 would be introduced into
the Arctic Ocean. 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 and thus
the dam could be built at only an immense cost. Soviet scientist
D. A. Drogaytsev, also opposed the idea, stating that the sea north of
the dam and north-flowing rivers in
Siberia would become unnavigable
year round, and extend the Gobi and other deserts to the northern
Charles P. Steinmetz
Charles P. Steinmetz earlier proposed to widen the Bering
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.
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
"Ice Curtain" border
Little Diomede Island (US, left) and Big Diomede Island (Russia,
During the Cold War, the Bering
Strait marked the border between the
Soviet Union and the United States. The Diomede Islands—Big 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. The border became known as the "Ice
Curtain". 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 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.
List of Russian explorers
Old Bering Sea
^ Карта Ледовитого моря и Восточного
^ 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. 
^ Klein, Christopher (September 30, 2014). "Did
Marco Polo Visit
^ The Victoria Advocate February 1 1938
^ Watts, Simon. (2012-08-08) BBC News – Swim that broke
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".
^ "ТАСС: Спорт – На Аляске завершилась
международная эстафета "моржей",
переплывших Берингов пролив". ТАСС.
Strait Swim –
Russia to America". Facebook.
^ "San Francisco to St Petersburg by Rail! If the Tunnel is driven
Strait will Orient meet Occident with Smile – or with
Sword?". San Francisco Call. September 2, 1906. Retrieved April 23,
^ "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 Crossing: A 21st Century
Frontier Between East and West.
^ Halpin, Tony (2011-08-20). "
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 Named After Vitus Bering".
For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 37–51.
Ocean Dams Would Thaw North" Popular Mechanics, June 1956, p. 135.
^ State of
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
Oliver, James A. (2007). The Bering
Strait Crossing. Information
Architects. ISBN 0-9546995-6-4.
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.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bering Strait.
PBS Video of
St. Lawrence Island
St. Lawrence Island in Bering Strait
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