The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Barrow

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24237-8_56
  1. 1.

    A promontory, a deserted northernmost point of the US territory, Alaska. It separates the Chukchi Sea in the west from the Beaufort Sea in the east. Near B. the shelf is cut into three deep-sea trenches, the biggest of which is called Alaska trench and is 45 km wide. The promontory is thermo-abrasive. Icy aleurites, sands, and gritstone underlying the littoral tundra plain are subject to abrasion. The thermo-abrasive projection, accompanied by soliflual shelf along the foot, is 4–6 m high. The shore retreat velocity ranges from 1.7 to 3.3 m and even up to 10 m a year.

    In winter and spring, B. is home to polar bears. On the way to the promontory, there is College Ilisagvik conducting natural research together with the Arctic scientific consortium of Barrow. The history of the promontory is closely connected to numerous Arctic expeditions. In 1926, R. Amundsen’s expedition on the airship “Norge” reached Point B. having flown over the North Pole.

    The promontory was discovered by the senior navigation officer T. Elson from the sloop “Blossom” under the command of an English mariner F. Beechey and was called after the secretary of the English Admiralty John Barrow.

     
  2. 2.

    A small town (Inupiat name for it is “Utkiagvik” meaning “a place of white owls hunting”), the northernmost in the USA, the capital of the Northern Eskimo in Alaska, the center of a vast district called the Alaska North Slope. Is situated in tundra on the shore of Kotzebue Sound in the Chukchi Sea. The population is about 4.2 thousand people (as of 2010). To the north of the town, there is Point Barrow. The town lies about 2,100 km from the North Pole in permafrost district with the depth of soil freezing amounting to 400 m. There is ice at the shore almost all year round stepping back only for several weeks in July and August. The midnight sun in the summer lasts for 84 days. Due to B’s location 515 km to the north of the Polar Circle, the climate in the town is cold and dry and is classified as polar. Winters in B. can be very dangerous because of the combination of severe frosts dropping to −52 °C and heavy winds. Even in the summer, the weather here is very chilly. B. sees one of the most severe natural conditions among the towns in the world, temperature never rising above 0 °C from the beginning of October to the end of May, and day temperature is above 0 °C only 109 days a year. On the average, the temperature in B. goes below 0 °C 324 days a year, and it may freeze or snow in any month. B. is the biggest settlement of Eskimo and Inupiats in Alaska. In the center of B., there are two lagoons – Tasigaruk and Isatkoak.

    Among the sights of the town are the Ukkuksi excavations in its western part; a monument to the famous pilot Wiley Post, who wanted to find a route from California to the USSR, and to his friend Will Rogers who died in a crash in 1935; the Inupiat Heritage Center, established to commemorate their contribution to whaling trade; an arch made of whale bones on the shore of the Chukchi Sea; and Brower’s café (Charles Dewitt Brower) situated in the former fort of the first European colonist who arrived here in 1884. Close to the town, there is a weather station and an oil extraction spot. The population is occupied with fishing and sea hunting. From time to time, cargoes from the Pacific ports of the USA are brought here. B. has an on-season pier operating and other types of port equipment and an airport. In 1947 an Arctic research laboratory started to operate not far from B. Up to 1981, it conducted complex research, creating special facilities for experiments in the interests of the Air Force and the Navy working in the Arctic. At present the laboratory conducts research for the US Navy.

     
  3. 3.

    A submarine canyon (trough valley) cutting across the Chukchi Sea shelf and stretches along the coast of Alaska. It is up to 160 m deep.

     

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016