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Bering land bridge

The Bering land bridge, also known as Beringia, was a land bridge roughly 1600 km (1000 miles) across, which is believed to have joined present-day Alaska and eastern Russia at various times during the ice ages.

The sea floor under the Bering Strait is shallow. During times of cyclical global cooling, sea water becomes concentrated in the ice caps of the Arctic and Antarctic, and the drop in sea levels exposes shallow sea floors. Other land bridges around the world have been created and re-flooded in the same way: between Australia and Tasmania, for example, or between the islands of Indonesia.

The Bering Land Bridge is significant for several reasons, notably because it may have enabled human migration to The Americas from Asia about 12,000 years ago. Settlers may also have crossed much earlier, but scientific opinion remains divided on this point. The rise and fall of global sea levels has exposed the land bridge in several periods. It is believed to have existed in the ice ages that occurred before 35,000 BC and during the period 24,000-9,000 BC.

The land bridge is named after Vitus Bering.