Bering Strait, c.55 mi (90 km) wide, between extreme NE Asia and extreme NW North America, connecting the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Sea. It is usually completely frozen over from October to June. The Diomede Islands are in the strait. The narrowness of the strait makes it possible for small boats to cross from Chukchi Peninsula, NE Russia, to Seward Peninsula in Alaska. The strait is named for the Danish explorer Vitus Bering, who traversed it in 1728.
During the Ice Age, Alaska and Siberia were connected by land where the strait now is, and many archaeologists believe that ancestors of Native Americans crossed the land bridge to North America. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, on the Seward Peninsula, is a remnant of the land bridge (see National Parks and Monuments, table). See also Americas, antiquity and prehistory of the.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Arctic Physical Geography