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Chukchi Sea

The Chukchi Sea is a portion of the Arctic Ocean. The sea is bounded on the east by Point Barrow, Alaska; and on the west by the De Long Strait of the Wrangel Island.

Beyond the Point Barrow in Alaska is the Beaufort Sea. The Bering Strait bounds the Chukchi Sea on the south and connects it to the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea.

The Chukchi people are traditionally known as a group of people who lived in coastal regions on the Bering Sea and other polar regions.

Typically, they were nomads who were noted for hunting wild reindeer.

However, they have evolved over time and are now two distinct groups: the Chavchu who are reindeer herders, and the others are maritime settlers who reside along with the coast hunting for sea animals.

Chukchi Sea Facts for Kids

  • The Chukchi Sea covers a total surface area of 595,000 square kilometers or 230,000 square miles.
  • The water volume of the Chukchi Sea is about 50,000 cubic kilometers.
  • Compared to other seas around the Arctic Ocean, the Chukchi Sea has few islands such as the Herald Island which is close to the northern boundary of the sea, the Wrangel Island, and other smaller islands located along the Alaskan and Siberian coasts.
  • The Chukchi Sea derived its name from the Chukchi people. The Chukchi people live on the shores of the Chukchi Sea as well as on the Chukotka Peninsula. The major occupations of the Chukchi people include fishing and hunting of walrus.
  • The Chukchi can also be spelled as the Chukchee. The Chukchi people speak the Chukchi-Kamchatka language just like the Koryak and Itelmen. The Chukchi is not related to any major language.
  • In Siberia, there are places along the Chukchi Sea which include the Cape Schmidt, Cape Billings, Amguyema River, Nekynpil’gyn Lagoon, Uelen, and more.
  • There are rivers flowing into the Chukchi Sea from Alaska. They include Kokolik, Kobuk, Kukpuk, Wulik, et cetera.
  • The Chukchi Sea can only be navigated four times in a year as a result of the ice and the location of the sea.
  • The major geological feature found at the bottom of the Chukchi Sea is the Hope Basin. The Hope Basin stretches about 430 miles in length and has about 56% of it below 160 feet in depth.
  • The Chukchi Sea has both Russian and United States connections as it is Russia’s easternmost continental shelf while being the U.S. westernmost continental shelf.
  • The Chukchi Sea provides passage for one of the world’s biggest marine mammal migrations. This corridor is measured at 50 miles. The corridor has opened up the way for marine mammals such as Bowhead whales, Beluga whales, Bearded whales, and Pacific walrus.
  • In 1878, there was a marine expedition with a steamship called Vega which was trapped in the Chukchi Sea for the whole of the winter.
  • In 1934, another steamship was caught in drift ice which later sank near Kolyuchin Island. This time, the steamship was called Chelyuskin. It wasn’t until 2006 that just two components of the steamship were recovered by a group of divers.
  • Polar bears live on the sea’s pack ice. The polar bears are believed to be of five unique Eurasian populations. The world’s biggest phytoplankton algal bloom was discovered in the Chukchi Sea by a group of scientists in the year 2012.
  • Many believe that the Chukchi Sea Shelf contains about 30 billion barrels of oil and gas in reserves. You should remember that Shell had started oil exploration in the Chukchi area before ending its exploration as oil prices dropped and the cost of exploration was high.