Bering Strait

The Bering Strait is a strait of the Pacific, which separates Russia and Alaska slightly south of the Arctic Circle at about 65° 40' N latitude. The present Russia-US east-west boundary is at 168° 58' 37" W. The Strait is named after Vitus Bering, a Danish explorer in the service of the Russian Empire.

The Strait has been the subject of the scientific hypothesis that humans migrated from 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,[1] 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.[2]

Bering Strait
Bering Strait.jpeg
Satellite photo of the Bering Strait
US NOAA nautical chart of Bering Strait
Nautical chart of the Bering Strait
Coordinates66°30′N 169°0′W / 66.500°N 169.000°WCoordinates: 66°30′N 169°0′W / 66.500°N 169.000°W
Basin countriesUnited States, Russia
Max. width82 km (51 mi)
Average depth−50 m (−160 ft)
IslandsDiomede Islands

Geography and science

The Bering Strait is about 82 kilometres (51 mi) wide at its narrowest point, between Cape Dezhnev, Chungu Peninsula, Russia, the easternmost point (167° 42' W) of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wale, Alaska, United States, the westernmost point (164° 15' W) of the North American continent. Its depth varies between 30 metres (98 ft) and 50 metres (160 ft).[3] It borders with the Chukchi Sea (part of the 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).


The area is sparsely populated.

The eastern coast belongs to the U.S. state of Alaska. Notable towns on the American coast of 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 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 School District.


Operational Navigation Chart C-8, 2nd edition
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.[4] 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 Russian navigator 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 cape of Siberia to Shishmaref, Alaska, on dogsled via Little and Big Diomede islands. He was the first documented modern voyager to cross from Russia to North America without the use of a boat.[5]

In 1987, swimmer Lynne Cox swam a 4.3-kilometre (2.7 mi) course between the Diomede Islands from Alaska to the Soviet Union in 3.3 °C (37.9 °F) water during the last years of the Cold War.[6]

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 three Californians.

In 1998, Russian adventurer Dmitry Shparo and his son Matvey crossed 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.[7] They were soon arrested for not entering Russia through a border control.[8]

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.[9]

In February 2012, a 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.[10]

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.[2]

Between August 4 and 10 (US time), 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).[11][12] They had direct support from the Russian Navy, using one of its ships, and assistance with permission.

Proposed crossing

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 commenced.[13][14][15][16][17]

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 $65-billion TKM-World Link tunnel project in August 2011. If completed, the 103 km (64 mile) project would have been the world's longest.[18] China considered 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.[19]

Proposed dam

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 cold 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.[20][21][22] 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.[23] 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 Siberia coastline.[20]

American Charles P. Steinmetz earlier proposed to widen the Bering Strait by removing St. Lawrence Island and parts of Seward and Chukotski Peninsulas. A strait 200 miles wide would let the Japan Current melt the Arctic Ocean.[20]

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.[24]

"Ice Curtain" border

Diomede Islands Bering Sea Jul 2006
Little Diomede Island (US, left) and Big Diomede Island (Russia, right)

During the Cold War, the Bering Strait marked the border between the 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.[25] The border became known as the "Ice Curtain".[26] 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,[27] and was congratulated jointly by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

See also


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ a b Andrew Roth (July 11, 2012). "Journey by Sea Takes Awkward Turn in Russia". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  3. ^ It is only 53 miles (85 km) wide, and at its deepest point is only 90 metres (300 ft) in depth. [1]
  4. ^ Klein, Christopher (September 30, 2014). "Did Marco Polo Visit Alaska?". History.
  5. ^ "The Victoria Advocate - Google News Archive Search".
  6. ^ Watts, Simon. (2012-08-08) "Swim that broke Cold War ice curtain". BBC News. Retrieved on 2013-07-29.
  7. ^ "Epic explorer crosses frozen sea". BBC News. 3 April 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Epic explorer detained in Russia". BBC News. 4 April 2006. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Cape to Cape Expedition". Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  10. ^ The Korea Herald. "Korean team crosses Bering Strait".
  11. ^ "ТАСС: Спорт – На Аляске завершилась международная эстафета "моржей", переплывших Берингов пролив". ТАСС.
  12. ^ "Bering Strait Swim – Russia to America". Facebook.
  13. ^ "San Francisco to St Petersburg by Rail! If the Tunnel is driven under Bering Strait will Orient meet Occident with Smile – or with Sword?". San Francisco Call. September 2, 1906. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  14. ^ "Thinking Big: Roads and Railroads to Siberia". InterBering LLC. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "FOR BERING STRAIT BRIDGE" (PDF). New York Times. August 2, 1906. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  17. ^ James A. Oliver (2006). The Bering Strait Crossing: A 21st Century Frontier Between East and West.
  18. ^ Halpin, Tony (2011-08-20). "Russia plans $65bn tunnel to America". The Sunday Times.
  19. ^ Tharoor, Ishaan (2014-05-09). "China may build an undersea train to America". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  20. ^ a b c Ley, Willy (June 1961). "The Strait Named After Vitus Bering". For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 37–51.
  21. ^ Fleming, James Rodger. "How the USSR Tried to Melt the Arctic".
  22. ^ "The Soviet Scientist Who Dreamed of Melting the Arctic with a 55-Mile-Long Dam". 25 April 2013.
  23. ^ "Ocean Dams Would Thaw North" Popular Mechanics, June 1956, p. 135.
  24. ^ "Could a 300 km dam save the Arctic?".
  25. ^ State of Alaska website Archived 2009-08-31 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Lifting the Ice Curtain", Peter A. Iseman, The New York Times, October 23, 1988
  27. ^ "Swimming to Antarctica", CBS News, September 17, 2003

Further reading

External links

Bering Strait (band)

Bering Strait was a country music band from Russia whose style was sometimes called "redgrass". In 2003, the band was nominated for a Grammy Award and appeared on the TV show 60 Minutes. The group disbanded in 2006. The lineup on their first album was Alexander Arzamastsev (drums), Natasha Borzilova (lead vocals), Sergey "Spooky" Olkhovsky (bass guitar), Sergei Passov (mandolin, fiddle), Lydia Salnikova (keyboards, background vocals), Sasha Ostrovsky (steel guitar, Dobro) and Ilya Toshinsky (electric guitar, banjo).

Bering Strait School District

Bering Strait School District (BSSD) is a school district in northwestern Alaska, United States, serving approximately 1,700 students in grades K-12 in fifteen isolated villages. All schools in the district serve students of all ages, and most classrooms are multi-age.

The district headquarters are in Unalakleet, Alaska.

Bering Strait crossing

A Bering Strait crossing is a hypothetical bridge and/or tunnel spanning the relatively narrow and shallow Bering Strait between the Chukotka Peninsula in Russia and the Seward Peninsula in the U.S. state of Alaska. The bridge/tunnel would provide a connection linking North America and Eurasia.

With the two Diomede Islands between the peninsulas, the Bering Strait could be spanned by a bridge/tunnel. There might be one long bridge, almost 40 kilometres (25 mi) long, connecting Alaska and the Diomede Islands, and a tunnel connecting the Diomede Islands and Russia. The earth bored from the tunnel could be used as landfill to connect the two islands.There have been several proposals for a Bering Strait crossing made by various individuals and media outlets. The names used for them include "The Intercontinental Peace Bridge" and "Eurasia-America Transport Link". Tunnel names have included "TKM-World Link" and "AmerAsian Peace Tunnel". In April 2007, Russian government officials told the press that the Russian government will back a US$65 billion plan by a consortium of companies to build a Bering Strait tunnel.


Beringia is defined today as the land and maritime area bounded on the west by the Lena River in Russia; on the east by the Mackenzie River in Canada; on the north by 72 degrees north latitude in the Chukchi Sea; and on the south by the tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula. It includes the Chukchi Sea, the Bering Sea, the Bering Strait, the Chukchi and Kamchatka Peninsulas in Russia as well as Alaska in the United States.

The area includes land lying on the North American Plate and Siberian land east of the Chersky Range. Historically, it formed a land bridge that was up to 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) wide at its greatest extent and which covered an area as large as British Columbia and Alberta together, totaling approximately 1,600,000 square kilometres (620,000 square miles). Today, the only land that is visible from the central part of the Bering land bridge are the Diomede Islands, the Pribilof Islands of St. Paul and St. George, St. Lawrence Island, and King Island.The term Beringia was coined by the Swedish botanist Eric Hultén in 1937. During the ice ages, Beringia, like most of Siberia and all of North and Northeast China, was not glaciated because snowfall was very light. It was a grassland steppe, including the land bridge, that stretched for hundreds of kilometres into the continents on either side.

It is believed that a small human population of at most a few thousand arrived in Beringia from eastern Siberia during the Last Glacial Maximum before expanding into the settlement of the Americas sometime after 16,500 years BP. This would have occurred as the American glaciers blocking the way southward melted, but before the bridge was covered by the sea about 11,000 years BP.Before European colonization, Beringia was inhabited by the Yupik peoples on both sides of the straits. This culture remains in the region today along with others. In 2012, the governments of Russia and the United States announced a plan to formally establish "a transboundary area of shared Beringian heritage". Among other things this agreement would establish close ties between the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and the Cape Krusenstern National Monument in the United States and Beringia National Park in Russia.

Beringia National Park

Beringia National Park (Russian: Берингия) is on the eastern tip of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug ("Chukotka"), the most northeastern region of Russia. It is on the western (i.e., Asian) side of the Bering Strait.

Big Diomede

Big Diomede Island (Russian: о́стров Ратма́нова, ostrov Ratmanova (Russian for Ratmanov Island); Inupiat: Imaqłiq) or "Tomorrow Island" (due to the International Date Line) is the western island of the two Diomede Islands in the middle of the Bering Strait. The island is a part of the Chukotsky District of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of Russia. The border separating Russia and the United States runs north-south between the Diomede Islands.

Cape Dezhnev

Cape Dezhnyov or Cape Dezhnev (Russian: мыс Дежнёва; formerly East Cape or Cape Vostochny) is a cape that forms the eastmost mainland point of Asia. It is located on the Chukchi Peninsula in the very sparsely populated Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of Russia. This cape is located between the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Strait, 82 kilometres (51 mi) across from Cape Prince of Wales in Alaska; the Bering Strait is delimited by the two capes. The Diomede Islands and Fairway Rock are located in the midst of the strait.

Cape Prince of Wales

Cape Prince of Wales (Russian: Мыс Принца Уэльского) (65°35′47″N 168°05′05″W) is the westernmost point on the mainland of the Americas. It was named in 1778 by Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy, presumably for the Prince of Wales at the time, George Augustus Frederick.

Located on the Seward Peninsula of the U.S. state of Alaska near the city of Wales, Cape Prince of Wales is the terminus of the Continental Divide, marking the division between the Pacific and Arctic coasts, as well as marking the limit between the Bering Sea and the Chukchi Sea. It is the eastern boundary of the Bering Strait, 51 miles (82 km) opposite Cape Dezhnev, and adjacent to the Diomede Islands and Fairway Rock.

Continental Divide of the Americas

The Continental Divide (also known as the Great Divide, Western Continental Divide or more elaborately, the Continental Divide of the Americas) is the principal, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas. The Continental Divide extends from the Bering Strait to the Strait of Magellan, and separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into the Atlantic Ocean (including those that drain into the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea) and, along the northernmost reaches of the Divide, those river systems that drain into the Arctic Ocean.

Though there are a few other hydrological divides in the Americas, the Continental Divide is by far the most prominent of these because it tends to follow a line of high peaks along the main ranges of the Rocky Mountains and Andes, at a generally much higher elevation than the other hydrological divisions.

Diomede Islands

The Diomede Islands (; Russian: острова́ Диоми́да, ostrová Diomída), also known in Russia as Gvozdev Islands (Russian: острова́ Гво́здева, ostrová Gvozdjeva), consist of two rocky, mesa-like islands:

The Russian island of Big Diomede (part of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug), also known as Imaqliq, Inaliq, Nunarbuk or Ratmanov Island

The U.S. island of Little Diomede (part of Alaska) or Ignaluk, also known as Krusenstern IslandThe Diomede Islands are located in the middle of the Bering Strait between mainland Alaska and Siberia, which borders the Chukchi Sea to the north and the Bering Sea to the south. 9.3 km (5.8 mi) to the southeast is Fairway Rock, which is generally not considered part of the Diomede Islands. Because they are separated by the International Date Line, Big Diomede is almost a day ahead of Little Diomede, but not completely; due to locally defined time zones, Big Diomede is only 21 hours ahead of Little Diomede (20 in summer; not 23 or 24 hours ahead, which is a common misconception). Because of this, the islands are sometimes called Tomorrow Island (Big Diomede) and Yesterday Island (Little Diomede).

Fedot Alekseyevich Popov

Fedot Alekseyevich Popov (Russian: Федот Алексеевич Попов, also Fedot Alekseyev, Russian: Федот Алексеев; nickname Kholmogorian, Russian: Холмогорец, for his place of birth (Kholmogory), date of birth unknown, died between 1648 and 1654) was a Russian explorer who organized the first European expedition through the Bering Strait.

He was normally known as Fedot Alekseyev. Only a few sources call him the son of Popov. He was from Kholmogory and the agent of Alexey Usov who was a member of the Gostinaya Sotnya, the highest merchant guild in Moscow. (Some time between 1647 and 1653 Usov petitioned to have Fedot apprehended on the grounds that Usov had sent him to Siberia with 3,500 rubles worth of goods and he had not reported back for eight years.) He went to Siberia in 1639. Moving east, he was at Tyumen, Tobolsk, Tomsk, Yeniseisk (1641) and Yakutsk(1642). In 1642 he joined a group of about 100 men under Ivan Rebrov who went down the Lena to the sea and up the Olenyok River to the west. Fedot had 29 men under him. Two years later they were defeated by the local Tungus and fled down the river. Fedot and some of his companions sailed east to the Kolyma River.

When he arrived at Srednekolymsk in 1645 he had 12 men with him and, probably, his Yakut concubine. Hearing of a rich 'Pogycha River' somewhere to the east, he organized an expedition to find it. Since he was not a service-man, Semyon Dezhnev was called in as the official leader. In June 1647 he sailed down the river to the Arctic with 50 men in four koches but they were forced to turn back due to thick ice. Next year they tried again. For a fuller account see Semyon Dezhnev. Sometime in September he rounded the northeastern tip of Asia and entered the Pacific Ocean. On September 20, 1648 (old style, September 30 in our calendar) he was wounded in a fight with the Chukchis. About the first of October (o.s) a storm separated Fedot's and Dezhnev's boats and we lose track of him. In 1653/54 Dezhnev captured his Yakut woman from the Koryaks. She said that Fedot died of scurvy, some of his companions were killed by the Koryaks and the rest fled in small boats to an unknown fate. From the location of the woman's capture, it is likely that his boat was wrecked somewhere not far south of Anadyr Estuary.

Dezhnev is usually called the first European to reach the Bering Strait since he was the formal leader and left most of the documents, but Fedot Alexeyev organized the expedition and may have been more important than the few surviving documents indicate.

The Fedotov Legend: When, in 1697, Vladimir Atlasov reached Kamchatka, he heard that other Russians had been there first. The natives said that a certain 'Fedotov' and his men had lived on the Nikul River, a tributary to the Kamchatka River, and had married local women. The ruins of their huts could still be seen. The natives thought they were gods or demons and left them alone, but when they saw one Russian kill another, they changed their minds. The Russians were attacked and fled, some going west to the sea of Okhotsk. All were killed, some by the Kamchadals, some by the Koryaks.

So who was Fedotov? There have been four answers: 1)Gerhardt Friedrich Müller thought he was probably Fedot's son, but offered no evidence. 2)Stepan Krasheninnikov thought he was Fedot himself and tried to reconcile this with the Yakut woman's story. Other versions of Fedotov=Fedot have been tried. 3) He may have been one of the lost men from the Dezhnev or some other expedition. In Siberia at this time there was a Vas'ka Fedotov, a few people who used Fedotov as a patronymic and various Fedors and so on whose names could have been garbled. 4) He was some other Russian who does not appear in the surviving records. About all we can say is that some Russians reached Kamchatka in the second half of the 17th century and died there. Who they were is a matter of speculation.

Ivan Fyodorov (navigator)

Ivan Fyodorov (Ива́н Фёдоров) (?-1733), was a Russian navigator and commanding officer of the expedition to northern Alaska in 1732。

After the First Kamchatka Expedition of Vitus Bering (1725–1730) the Russian exploration efforts were continued by Lieutenant Martin Shpanberg and Navigator I. Fyodorov. In 1732, together with participants of the 1st Kamchatka expedition, land-surveyor Mikhail Gvozdev and navigator K. Moshkov, Fyodorov sailed to Dezhnev Cape, the easternmost point of Asia, in the vessel Sviatoi Gavriil (St. Gabriel). From there, after having replenished the water supply on 5 August, they sailed east and soon came near the mainland at the Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska. They charted the north-western coast of Alaska and mapped their route. By doing this, Fyodorov and Gvozdev completed the discovery of the Bering Strait, once started by Semyon Dezhnyov and Fedot Popov and continued by Bering. Their expedition also discovered three previously unknown islands。

Kamchatka Current

The Kamchatka Current is a cold-water current flowing south-westward from the Bering Strait, along the Siberian Pacific coast and the Kamchatka Peninsula. A portion of this current then becomes the Oyashio Current while the remainder joins the warmer North Pacific Current.

List of shipwrecks in 1851

The list of shipwrecks in 1851 includes some ships sunk, wrecked or otherwise lost during 1851.

Little Diomede Island

Little Diomede Island (Inupiat: Iŋaliq, formerly known as Krusenstern Island, Russian: Остров Крузенштерна, Ostrov Kruzenshterna) is an island of Alaska, United States. It is the smaller of the two Diomede Islands located in the middle of the Bering Strait between the Alaskan mainland and Siberia.

Little Diomede's neighboring island, Big Diomede, is about 2.33 miles (3.75 kilometers) to the west, but is part of Russia and west of the International Date Line. Unlike its larger Russian neighbor, Little Diomede retains a permanent native population. As of the 2010 census, Little Diomede had a population of 110, down from its recorded peak of 178 in 1990. The entirety of the island is in the City of Diomede (Inupiat: Iŋaliq meaning "the other one" or "the one over there"). The island is not part of any organized borough, so some services are provided directly by the state. For census purposes, it is included in the Nome Census Area.

During the Cold War, the section of the border between the U.S. and the USSR separating Big and Little Diomede became known as the "Ice Curtain". In 1987, however, Lynne Cox swam from Little Diomede to Big Diomede (approx. 2.2 miles (3.5 km)) and was congratulated jointly by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan.

Mikhail Gvozdev

Mikhail Spiridonovich Gvozdev (Russian: Михаи́л Спиридо́нович Гво́здев) (1700-04 — after 1759) was a Russian military geodesist and a commander of the expedition to northern Alaska in 1732, when the Alaskan shore was for the first time sighted by Russians.In 1732, together with the participants of the first Kamchatka expedition navigators Ivan Fedorov and K. Moshkov, Gvozdev in Sviatoi Gavriil (St. Gabriel) sailed to Dezhnev Cape, the easternmost point of Asia. From there, after having replenished the water supply on 5 August, 'Sviatoi Gavriil' sailed east and soon came near the American mainland at Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska. They charted the north-western coast of Alaska and mapped their route. By doing this, Fyodorov and Gvozdev completed the discovery of the Bering Strait, once started by Dezhnyov and Fedot Popov and continued by Bering.

Subsequently in 1741-42 Gvozdev participated in an expedition led by Alexey Shelting, and mapped most of the western and southern shores of the Sea of Okhotsk, as well as the eastern shore of Sakhalin island.

A cape on Sakhalin island is named after Gvozdev.

Oyashio Current

Oyashio (親潮, "Parental Tide"), also known as Oya Siwo, Okhotsk or the Kurile current, is a cold subarctic ocean current that flows south and circulates counterclockwise in the western North Pacific Ocean. The waters of the Oyashio Current originate in the Arctic Ocean and flow southward via the Bering Sea, passing through the Bering Strait and transporting cold water from the Arctic Sea into the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk. It collides with the Kuroshio Current off the eastern shore of Japan to form the North Pacific Current (or Drift).

The nutrient-rich Oyashio is named for its metaphorical role as the parent (親, oya) that provides for and nurtures marine organisms.The current has an important impact on the climate of the Russian Far East, mainly in Kamchatka and Chukotka, where the northern limit of tree growth is moved south up to ten degrees compared with the latitude it can reach in inland Siberia. The waters of the Oyashio Current form probably the richest fishery in the world owing to the extremely high-nutrient content of the cold water and the very high tides (up to ten metres) in some areas – which further enhances the availability of nutrients. However, the Oyashio Current also causes Vladivostok to be the most equatorward port to seasonally freeze and require icebreaking ships to remain open in winter. Nonetheless, this has relatively little effect on the fish yield through the Sea of Okhotsk, because the large tides mean freezing does not occur so easily.

During glacial periods, when lower sea level exposed the Bering land bridge, the current could not flow in the regions the Oyashio affects today. The level of cooling with the onset of glacial conditions (after an interglacial) was much less than in other areas of the Earth at similar latitudes. This allowed Tōhoku and Hokkaidō – the only areas of East Asia with enough snowfall to potentially form glaciers – to remain unglaciated except at high elevations during periods when Europe and North America were largely glaciated. This lack of glaciation explains why, despite its present climate being much colder than most of Europe, East Asia has retained 96 percent of Pliocene tree genera, whereas Europe has retained only 27%.

Semyon Dezhnev

Semyon Ivanovich Dezhnev (Russian: Семён Ива́нович Дежнёв, IPA: [sʲɪˈmʲɵn ɪˈvanəvʲɪtɕ dʲɪˈʐnʲɵf]; sometimes spelled Dezhnyov; c. 1605 – 1673) was a Russian explorer of Siberia and the first European to sail through the Bering Strait, 80 years before Vitus Bering did. In 1648 he sailed from the Kolyma River on the Arctic Ocean to the Anadyr River on the Pacific. His exploit was forgotten for almost a hundred years and Bering is usually given credit for discovering the strait that bears his name.

USS Bering Strait (AVP-34)

USS Bering Strait (AVP-34) was a United States Navy Barnegat-class small seaplane tender in commission from 1944 to 1946. She tended seaplanes during World War II in the Pacific in combat areas and earned three battle stars by war's end.

After her U.S. Navy career ended, the ship served in the United States Coast Guard as the cutter USCGC Bering Strait (WAVP-382), later WHEC-382, from 1948 to 1971, seeing service in the Vietnam War. The Coast Guard decommissioned her at the beginning of 1971, and she was transferred to South Vietnam and served in the Republic of Vietnam Navy as the frigate RVNS Trần Quang Khải (HQ-02) until South Vietnam's collapse at the end of the Vietnam War in April 1975. She fled to the Philippines, where she was incorporated into the Philippine Navy, in which she served from 1980 to 1985 as the frigate BRP Diego Silang (PF-9) and as BRP Diego Silang (PF-14) from 1987 to 1990.

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