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Facts about The Bering Strait for Kids

The Bering Strait is a strait 51 mi; 44 nmi wide between Cape Dezhnev, Chukchi Peninsula, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent. Named after Vitus Bering, a Danish explorer living in Russia, it lies slightly south of the polar circle at approximately 65° 40′ N latitude, with the present US-Russia east-west boundary, agreed to only by the USA, at 168° 58′ 37″ W. The Strait has been the subject of scientific speculation 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 ridge beneath the ocean.

  • As of 2012, the Russian coast of the Bering Strait was a closed military zone.
  • Unauthorized travelers who arrive on shore after crossing the strait, even those with visas, may be arrested, imprisoned briefly, and deported.
  • It connects the Chukchi Sea (part of the Arctic Ocean) to the north with the Bering Sea (part of the Pacific Ocean) to the south.
  • The International Date Line runs equidistant between the Strait’s Diomede Islands at a distance of 1 mi, leaving the Russian and American sides usually on different calendar days, with Cape Dezhnev 21 hours ahead of the American side.
  • No roads exist from the Strait to the main cities of Alaska, with only a few around Nome.
  • Roadless Provideniya (4,500 people) and Chukotsky (5,200 people) lie along the Strait.
  • The Diomede Islands lie midway in the Strait.
  • From at least 1562 European geographers thought that there was a Strait of Anián between Asia and North America.
  • Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld in 1878/79 sailed along the complete northern coast of Siberia, thereby proving that there was no northern land bridge from Asia to North America.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The men had visas but the western coast of the Bering Strait is a closed military zone.
  • 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 west.
  • In 1956, Russia purposed a joint project to warm the Arctic Ocean and melt some of the ice cap.
  • During the Cold War, the Bering Strait marked the border between the Soviet Union and the United States.