The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

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

Bering Strait

Reference work entry

Bering Strait – a strait between Asia and North America, connecting the Arctic Ocean (the Chukchi Sea) and the Pacific Ocean (the Bering Sea). It is 96 km long, 35–86 km wide, and up to 60 m deep. The Diomede Islands (the Gvozdev Islands) divide it into three water ways. The strait brings warmer surface water of the Bering Sea to the north and cold waters of the Arctic Ocean to the south, to the western coastal zone. B.S. is covered with drift ice in the period from October to August. 65 km away from the coast of Alaska, there is King Island, also known as Ugiuvak. The coast of the B.S. is home to one of the extreme points of Russia, Cape Dezhnev (66°05′ N and 169°40′W).

In the middle of the strait, between Big Diomede Island and Little Diomede Island, there lies the state border of the Russian Federation and the USA, set in 1867, as well as the date line. The Northern Sea Route runs through the B.S.

The B.S. was first passed by a Cossack S.I. Dezhnev and F.A. Alekseev (Popov) during the trade expedition on 1648 and later in 1728 by the Russian expedition of V. Bering, after which the strait was named, and A. Chirikov. The American shore of the strait was discovered in 1732 by the expedition of Russian geodesists I. Fedorov and M. Gvozdev.

Further surveys of the strait belong to the English navigators J. Cook in 1778, C. Clerke in 1779, the Russian navigators and researches G.A. Sarychev in 1791, O. Kotzebue in 1816, M.N. Vasilyev in 1820 and 1821, and others. Many Russian men of war made a survey of a number of geographical points of the western shore.

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016