Key Facts about Bering Sea

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A recent study links a decline in sea ice moving from the Arctic to the Bering Sea in the north Pacific Ocean to an increased occurrence of wildfire hazards in northeast China.

About Bering Sea

  • It is a marginal sea in the northernmost part of the Pacific Ocean, separating the continents of Asia and North America.
  • To the north, the Bering Sea connects with the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait, at the narrowest point of which the two continents are about 53 miles (85 kilometres) apart.
  • It is bordered by the US state of Alaska to the east and northeast, the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Far Eastern region of Russia in the west, and the chain of the Aleutian Islands in the south.
  • The boundary between the United States and Russia passes through the sea and the strait.
  • The Bering Sea can be divided into two equal portions: a shallow area along the continental shelf in the northern and eastern parts of the sea, and a deeper area in its southwestern part.
  • The Bering Strait is a relatively shallow passage, averaging 100 to 165 feet (30 to 50 metres) in depth. 
  • Canyons:
    • There are about 16 submarine canyons in the Bering Sea.
    • Situated in the sea’s center is a large underwater canyon known as the Zhemchug Canyon. It is also the world’s largest and deepest submarine canyon.
  • Rivers: The two rivers that drain into the sea are the Anadyr and the Yukon Rivers.
  • Islands:
    • In addition to the Aleutian and Komandor groups, there are several other large islands in both the sea and strait.
    • These include Nunivak, St. Lawrence, and Nelson islands in Alaskan waters and Karagin Island in Russian waters.
  • Springtime in the Bering Strait brings one of the largest migrations in the world. Each year, millions of birds and hundreds of thousands of marine mammals follow retreating sea ice north through the Bering Strait.

Q1) What are submarine canyons?

Submarine canyons are any of a class of narrow steep-sided valleys that cut into continental slopes and continental rises of the oceans. Submarine canyons originate either within continental slopes or on a continental shelf. They are rare on continental margins that have extremely steep continental slopes or escarpments. Submarine canyons are so called because they resemble canyons made by rivers on land.

Source: Declining Bering Sea ice linked to increasing wildfire hazard in northeast China