Bering Strait

CODEX Entry 3511: Bering Strait


The Russian coast of the Bering Strait has been a closed military zone for decades. The Strait is 82 kilometres wide at its narrowest point, between Cape Dezhnev and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, with a maximum depth of just 50 metres. Russia approved a US $65-billion 103km tunnel project in 2011, and China also a second one as a joint venture between China, Russia, Canada and the US.

In 1956, the Soviet Union proposed to the US a project to warm the Arctic Ocean and melt some of the ice cap with a dam across the Bering Strait. It would block the cold Pacific current from entering the Arctic. However, citing national security concerns, the CIA and FBI experts opposed the Soviet plan. The Americans counter proposed to widen it by removing St. Lawrence Island and parts of the peninsulas which would let the Japan Current melt the Arctic Ocean. Now a dam is being proposed to preserve the Arctic ice cap against global warming.