Bering Strait – Concept, characteristics and theories

We explain what the Bering Strait is, its width and depth. Also, who owes its name and the theories about this place.

Bering strait
The Bering Strait has an average depth of 30 to 50 meters.

What is the Bering Strait?

It is known as the Bering Strait (Bering Strait, in English) to a portion of sea that extends between the eastern end of the Asian territory (Siberia, Russia) and the northwestern extreme of the American (Alaska), serving as a communicating channel between the Chukotka Sea (to the north) and the sea Bering (south). It has a width of 82 kilometers of cold waters and an average depth of 30 to 50 meters.

The Bering Strait It was named after the Danish explorer Vitus Bering, who in the service of the Russian Empire crossed it for the first time in 1728. It is assumed that the Russian explorer Semyon Dezniov would have crossed its waters in 1648, but that news would not have reached Europe. There were later expeditions by the British James Cook (1778) and Frederick William Beechey (1826).

Inside the strait there are two islands known as the Diomedes Islands: the Lesser Diomede is North American territory and the Greater Diomede is Russian territory. Between both islands passes the international date change line, which divides the strait in two.

Various plans have been proposed for the construction of a bridge that connects the two ends of the Bering Strait, allowing land transit from Asia to America. The initial project was abandoned after the success of the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable, but resumed in recent years (2011) as a commercial passage project between the United States, Russia and China, which could include a 200 km long underwater tunnel.

Today the Bering Strait area it is a closed military zone, which is possible to visit with the appropriate safe-conducts of the Russian government, which is usually very strict in its control of the region. The only nearby Russian towns are the cities of Anadyr and Providéniya.

Bering Strait Theory

Bering strait
The Bering Strait may have led to colonization in America.

Some theories about the migration of humans from Asia to America in remote times see in the Bering Strait a possible answer: the low level of the oceans caused by an ice age or ice age, would have exposed a stretch of land linking both continents, through which some human ancestor would have migrated. This natural bridge would be known as the Beringia Bridge.

This would have given rise to the human colonization of the American continent and, above all, to a parallel evolution with respect to its European and Asian cousins, since by increasing global temperature and melting the ice, the ocean would have increased its level and submerged the natural bridge between the continents, isolating the American settlers. This theory is still under discussion by the various specialists in the field.