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East Beringia: Alaska, Northwestern North America, and the Aleutian Connection

East Beringia: Alaska, Northwestern North America, and the Aleutian Connection

Chapter:
(p.57) Two East Beringia: Alaska, Northwestern North America, and the Aleutian Connection
Source:
Land Bridges
Author(s):
Alan Graham
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226544328.003.0003

Alaska and adjacent regions of NW North America are mountainous with slightly less seasonal and extreme variation in temperature, and of less geographic extent accounting for the probable somewhat later, less sustained, and extensive glaciation. In contrast to the relatively stable cratonic platform underlying much of western Beringia (Siberia), NW North America is bordered by exotic terranes, subduction along the Aleutian Trench, and is located at the intersection of the North American, Pacific, and Asia plates making for a highly complex geology. The vegetation includes tundra and taiga similar to that of Siberia but with more cold deciduous communities in the topographically diverse landscape. The indigenous people are the Inuits (Alaska), Eskimos (circum-boreal), Tsimshian (British Columbia), and Aleutes (collectively the Inupiats) which in the Bering Sea region includes those living both in coastal and inland areas. This is relevant to the discussion of whether early migrants to the New World were seafarers, inland inhabitants, or both. The Bering Land Bridge has probably been utilized periodically and sparsely since the Cretaceous but mostly in the Neogene when increasing continuity and warmer climates prevailed until advent of the very cold climates and physical disruptions of the Quaternary.

Keywords:   coastal plains, North Slope, Brooks Range, Central Plateau, Alaska Range, Alaska Peninsula, Aleutians, vegetation, migrations, indigenous people

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