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Map of the East Siberian Sea.
Satellite photo of the New Siberian Islands, with the Laptev Sea on the left and part of the East Siberian Sea shown on the right.

The East Siberian Sea (Russian: Восто́чно-Сиби́рское мо́ре) is a marginal sea in the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the Arctic Cape in the North, the coast of Siberia in the South, the New Siberian Islands in the West and Cape Billings, close to Gytkhelen, Chukotka, and Wrangel Island in the East. This sea is bordering on the Laptev Sea in the West and the Chukchi Sea in the East.



Since it is open towards the Arctic Ocean in the north, the main gulfs of the East Siberian Sea, like the Kolyma Bay, the Kolyma Gulf and the Chaunskaya Bay, are all located in its southern limits.

The area of the sea is 361,000 square miles. 70% of it is no deeper than 50 m, the deepest point being 155 m. The coast is mostly flat in the West (up to the mouth of the Kolyma), and mountainous in the East. Average air temperatures are 0°C to 2°C (4°C in the South) in the summer, reaching -30°C in the winter.

There are no islands in the middle of the East Siberian Sea, but there are a few islands and island groups in its coastal waters, like Ayon Island and the Medvyezhi island group.

Owing to its extreme northerly location the East Siberian Sea is most of the time covered with ice. The eastern coasts have some elevated terrain and hills, but the western coasts are mostly low-lying and covered with tundra, marshes and multitude of small lakes.

Among the rivers flowing into the East Siberian Sea, the Indigirka, the Alazeya, The Ujandina, the Chukochya River, the Kolyma, the Rauchua, the Chaun, and the Pegtymel are the most important.



The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the East Siberian Sea as follows:[1]

On the West. The Eastern limit of Laptev Sea [From the Northern extremity of Kotelni Island – through Kotelni Island to Cape Madvejyi. Then through Malyi Island, to Cape Vaguin on Great Liakhov Island. Thence to Cape Sviaroy Noss on the main land].

On the North. A line from the Northernmost point of Wrangel Island (179°30'W) to the Northern sides of the De Long Islands (including Henrietta and Jeannette Islands) and Bennett Island, thence to the Northern extremity of Kotelni Island.

On the East. From the Northernmost point of Wrangel Island through this island to Cape Blossom thence to Cape Yakan on the main land (176°40'E).


This sea was navigated by Russian sea-farers, moving from one river mouth to another in their kochs as early as the 17th century. In 1648 Semyon Dezhnev and Fedot Alekseev sailed the coast of the East Siberian Sea from the Kolyma to river Anadyr in the Bering Sea. Systematic exploration and mapping of the sea and its coasts was carried out by a series of expeditions in 1735-42, 1820-24, 1822, 1909, 1911-14.

The principal ports are Pevek and Logashkino. The latter was abandoned after navigation along the Northern Sea Route declined in the latter half of the 20th century. After the breakup of the Soviet Union commercial navigation in the Arctic went into decline. Nowadays more or less regular shipping is to be found only between Pevek and Vladivostok. Ports in the northern Siberian coast located between Dudinka and Pevek see next to no shipping at all.

See also


  1. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition". International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 19 December 2009.  

External links

Coordinates: 72°17′10″N 164°09′49″E / 72.28611°N 164.16361°E / 72.28611; 164.16361


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