Chukchi Sea Facts

Chukchi Sea Facts
The Chukchi Sea is located in the Arctic Ocean, bordered by Alaska to its east and Russia to its west. The Chukchi Sea is connected to the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean via the Bering Strait. It covers a surface area of 240,000 square miles, and has an average depth of 260 feet. Chukchi Sea is named after the Chukchi people who inhabit the Chukotka Peninsula. The western limit of the Chukchi Sea is the eastern limit of the East Siberian Sea. The southern limit is the northern limit of the Bering Sea, at the Arctic Circle between Siberia and Alaska.
Interesting Chukchi Sea Facts:
The Chukchi Sea is only navigable for approximately 1/3 of the year due to ice and its northern location.
The Chukchi Sea bottom's main geological feature is the Hope Basin - which stretches 430 mile-long. Approximately 56% of this basin is less than 160 feet deep.
The Chukchi Sea Shelf makes up the easternmost continental shelf in Russia and the westernmost continental shelf of the United States.
There is a 50 mile corridor in the Chukchi Sea Shelf that provides passage for one of the world's largest marine mammal migrations. Beluga whales, bowhead whales, bearded seals, and Pacific walrus have been documented using this corridor.
In 1878 an expedition with a steamship named Vega became trapped in the ice in the Chukchi Sea for the entire winter. They were only a few miles from open waters.
In 1913 a ship called Karluk was abandoned after being caught in drift ice. It was crushed by ice near Herald Island and sank. Nine months later 12 survivors were found thanks to the captain having gone for help with an Inuit man.
In 1934 a steamship called Chelyuskin was caught in drift ice and sank near Kolyuchin Island. In 2006 two components were recovered by divers.
A large mass of algal bloom was discovered floating in off the northwest Alaskan coast in 2009.
There are polar bears living on the Chukchi Sea's pack ice. They are considered to be one of only five distinct Eurasian populations of this species.
In 2012 scientists discovered the world's largest phytoplankton algal bloom in the Chukchi Sea. Some of the Algae was found under intact sea ice reaching several meters down, which was unexpected as this was not believed to be possible until after the ice melts each year.
It is believed there may be as many as 30 billion barrels of oil and gas reserves in the Chukchi Sea Shelf.
Shell Oil had begun oil exploration in the area after bidding for rights but ended its exploration due to cost and the drop in oil prices.
Rivers that flow into the Chukchi Sea from Alaska include the Kokolik, the Kobuk, the Kivalina, the Wulik, the Pitmegea, the Utukok, the Noatak, and the Kukpuk.
Rivers that flow into the Chukchi Sea from Siberia include the Chegitun, the Ioniveyem, and the Amguyema.
The Chukchi Sea is crossed by the International Date Line, which runs from the northwest to southeast.


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