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Titlu referat: The seas that surround the Arctic Ocean

Nivel referat: liceu

Descriere referat:
The seas that surround the Arctic
Ocean
The surface waters of the Arctic Ocean mingle
with those of the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait, by way of a narrow
and shallow channel, which has a depth of 55 m (180 ft). More importantly, the
Arctic waters mix with those of the Atlantic Ocean across a system of submarine
sills (shallow ridges) that span the great distances from Scotland to Greenland
and from Greenland to Baffin Island at depths of 500 to 700 m (1,600 to 2,300
ft). Emptying into the Arctic Ocean are the Ob’, Yenisey, and Lena rivers in Asia and
the Mackenzie River in North America. The total surface area of the Arctic
Ocean is 14.1 million sq km (5.4 million sq mi). The major subdivisions of the
Arctic Ocean include the Norwegian, Barents, Kara, Laptev, and Beaufort
seas.
Barents Sea (Russian
Barentsovo More), arm of the Arctic Ocean, named for its discoverer, the Dutch
navigator Willem Barents. The sea is bounded on the west by the Norwegian
archipelago of Svalbard and on the east by the two islands of Novaya Zemlya,
which belong to Russia. The sea extends north from Norway, Finland, and Russia
for 1,500 km (900 mi), and is bounded on the north by Franz Josef Land (Zemlya
Frantsa Iosifa). The sea is shallow, and the southern part is free of ice all
year. Trawlers from northern European ports fish its waters for cod and
haddock. During World War II (1939-45) the Barents Sea served as an important
traffic route; it provided the only direct surface approach to the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). At present it forms the westernmost part of
the 8,000-km (5,000-mi) seaway leading from Murmansk in Europe to Vladivostok
on the Pacific Ocean.
Kara Sea, southern
arm of the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of Russia, situated between
the islands of Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya, and the northwestern coast of
Siberia in Russia. It has an area of 777,000 sq km (300,000 sq mi). Ice-locked
for most of the year, the sea is usually a navigable fishing ground during
August and September and is an outlet for the Yenisey, Pyasina, Taymyr, and
Ob’ rivers. The chief ports
of the Kara Sea are Dikson and Tambey. The Northern Sea Route, maintained for
shipping year round, passes through the Kara Sea. The route also passes through
the Kassk Strait (Proliv Karskiye Vorota), which connects the Kara Sea with the
Pechorsk Sea (Pechorskoye More), and the Vil'kitsk Strait (Proliv
Vil'kitskogo), which connects the Kara Sea with the Laptev Sea (More
Laptevykh). The Matochkin Strait (Proliv Matochkin Shar), dividing Novaya
Zemlya, connects the Kara Sea with the Barents Sea.
Laptev Sea (Russian
More Laptevykh), part of the Arctic Ocean, off the northern coast of Siberia
Russia. The Taymyr Peninsula is to the west, and the New Siberian Islands
(Russian Novosibirskiye Ostrova) are to the east. The sea is frozen for much of
the year. Tiksi, near the mouth of the Lena River, is the chief port. The
Laptev Sea is named for the 18th-century Russian cousins Khariton and Dmitri
Laptev, who explored and mapped its shores
Beaufort Sea, arm of
the Arctic Ocean, bordered on the east and south by Canada, and on the
southwest by Alaska. In the north it extends from Point Barrow, Alaska, to the
Canadian Archipelago. The sea occupies an area of 450,000 sq km (170,000 sq
mi). The average depth is 1,000 m (3,300 ft) and the maximum depth is 4,682 m
(15,361 ft). The coastal waters of the Beaufort Sea are shallow, generally
measuring less than 50 m (160 ft). Most of the sea is permanently covered by
the polar ice pack, which is often more than 5 m (15 ft) thick, although ice
along the shores melts during the summer. The Mackenzie River, one of the
longest rivers in North America, flows into the sea near the town of
Inuvik.
Approximately 10,000 people live along the coast of the
Beaufort Sea; almost all are Inupiat in Alaska and Inuvialuit in Canada.
Alaskan communities along the sea include Barrow, the largest, as well as
Nuiqsut and Kaktovik; Canadian communities include Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk,
Aklavik, Sachs Harbour, Paulatuk, and Holman. Wildlife in the region includes
musk ox, caribou, reindeer, herring, salmon, seabirds, and bowhead and beluga
whales.
Offshore drilling for oil and gas is possible in the
shallow coastline waters of the Beaufort Sea, especially in the Canadian
section, which has an extensive continental shelf. Sparked by high oil prices
in the 1970s, oil companies drilled hundreds of wells in the sea and discovered
significant deposits of oil and gas. However, further development has been
prevented by lower oil prices, the high cost of production and shipping to
southern markets, and a land claim settlement in 1984 between the Inuvialuit
and the Canadian government. Oil wells near Prudhoe Bay (an arm of the Beaufort
Sea) began operating in 1977, sending oil through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline to
the ice-free port of Valdez in southern Alaska; these wells continue to
operate.
The sea was named for British naval officer Sir Francis
Beaufort, who supported explorations in the area during the 19th century. Later
in the century whaling became an important industry in the region. Herschel
Island, located off the coast of the Yukon Territory, served as a wintering
station for U.S. whaling ships. Commercial whaling generally ceased by the
early 20th century, although the indigenous peoples, who had assisted the
whalers, continued to harvest marine life for local use. During an expedition
into the Canadian Arctic (1913-1918), Canadian-born American explorer
Vilhjalmur Stefansson first crossed the ice and explored the Beaufort
Sea.



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