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

The BERING STRAIT (Russian : Берингов пролив, Beringov proliv, Yupik : Imakpik ) is a strait of the Pacific
Pacific
, which borders with the Arctic to north. It is located between Russia
Russia
and the United States . Named after Vitus Bering , a Danish-born explorer in the service of the Russian Empire
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 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
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.

CONTENTS

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

GEOGRAPHY AND SCIENCE

The Bering Strait
Strait
is about 82 kilometres (51 mi) wide at its narrowest point, between Cape Dezhnev , Chukchi Peninsula , Russia
Russia
, the easternmost point (169° 43' W) of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales , Alaska
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
Arctic Ocean
) to north and with the Bering Sea to south.

The 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 ).

POPULATION

The area is sparsely populated.

The eastern coast belongs to the U.S. state
U.S. state
of Alaska
Alaska
. Notable towns that straddle the Strait
Strait
include Nome (3,788 people) and the small settlement of Teller (229 people).

The western coast belongs to the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
, a Federal subject of Russia. Major towns that lie along the Strait include Lorino (1,267 people) and Lavrentiya (1,459 people).

The 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

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
Marco Polo
. 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 probably passed through the strait, but his report did not reach Europe. Danish-born Russian navigator 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
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
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.

In 1987, swimmer Lynne Cox swam a 4.3-kilometre (2.7 mi) course between the 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
Cold War
.

In June and July 1989, a British expedition, Kayaks Across the Bering Strait, completed the first sea kayak crossing of the Bering Strait from Wales (Kiŋigin), Alaska, to Cape Dezhnev, Siberia. The team of Robert Egelstaff, Trevor Potts, Greg Barton and Pete Clark landed on Little Diomede Island, rested a few days and completed the journey to Uelen. They were escorted to Moscow from where they flew back to London at the end of July.

During the first part of the crossing they were accompanied by two other groups, Paddling into Tomorrow led by Doug Van Etten. There was also small party led by Jim Noyes in a three-man Baidarka who were accompanied by a film crew. The film Curtain of Ice was produced by Aggi Orse.

In 1998, Russian adventurer Dmitry Shparo and his son Matvey made the modern crossing of the frozen Bering Strait
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
Russia
through a border control.

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.

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
Russia
on February 23 and arrived in Wales, the western coastal town in Alaska
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
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 .

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). They had direct support from the Russian Navy, using one of its ships, and assistance with permission.

PROPOSED TUNNEL

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 proved successful.

A further proposal for a bridge-and-tunnel link from Siberia
Siberia
to Alaska
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.

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 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.

PROPOSED DAM

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. The Soviet project called for a 90 km (56 mi) wide dam across the Bering Straits. 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.

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.

In the 21st century, a similar dam have also been proposed, however the aim of the proposal is to preserve the Arctic ice cap against global warming.

THE "ICE CURTAIN" BORDER

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

During the Cold War
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 (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
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.

SEE ALSO

* Geography portal

* List of Russian explorers * Old Bering Sea * I can see Russia
Russia
from my house.

REFERENCES

* ^ http://www.wall-maps.com/World/PetersProjection-over.gif * ^ Forbes, Jack D. 2007. The American Discovery of Europe. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, pp. 84 ff., 198, * ^ Stuckey, M., 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
Marco Polo
Visit Alaska?". History. * ^ The Victoria Advocate February 1 1938, additional text. * ^ 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". 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
The Sunday Times
. * ^ Tharoor, Ishaan (2014-05-09). "China may build an undersea train to America". The Washington Post
The Washington Post
. Retrieved 2014-05-14. * ^ http://gizmodo.com/5680669/thawing-the-arctic---soviet-russias-cold-war-war-on-cold * ^ http://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

* 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

Wikimedia Commons has media related to BERING STRAIT .

* PBS Video of St. Lawrence Island in Bering Strait

* v

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