Golden Gate

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Golden Gate
Chrysopylae
Boca del Puerto de San Francisco
Wpdms usgs photo golden gate.jpg
A map showing the location of the Golden Gate strait
Location Map San Francisco Bay Area.png
Red pog.svg
Golden Gate
Scientific Investigations Map 2917.jpg
Perspective view looking southwest over the Golden Gate Bridge toward the Pacific Ocean.
LocationBetween San Francisco Peninsula and Marin Headlands
Coordinates 37°49′N122°30′W / 37.81°N 122.50°W / 37.81; -122.50 Coordinates: 37°49′N122°30′W / 37.81°N 122.50°W / 37.81; -122.50
Type strait
Max. width3 miles (4.8 km)
Min. width1.1 miles (1.8 km)
Max. depth115 meters (377 ft) [1]
Settlements San Francisco, CA

The Golden Gate is a strait on the west coast of North America that connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. [2] It is defined by the headlands of the San Francisco Peninsula and the Marin Peninsula, and, since 1937, has been spanned by the Golden Gate Bridge. The entire shoreline and adjacent waters throughout the strait are managed by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. [3]

Contents

Geology

During the last Ice Age, when sea level was several hundred feet lower, the waters of the glacier-fed Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River scoured a deep channel through the bedrock on their way to the ocean. (A similar process created the undersea Hudson Canyon off the coast of New York and New Jersey.) The strait is well known today for its depth and powerful tidal currents from the Pacific Ocean. Many small whirlpools and eddies can form in its waters. With its strong currents, rocky reefs and fog, the Golden Gate is the site of over 100 shipwrecks.[ citation needed ]

Climate

San Francisco's natural air conditioning, the fog, rolls in through the Golden Gate, covering Alcatraz Island. Golden Gate with fog.jpg
San Francisco's natural air conditioning, the fog, rolls in through the Golden Gate, covering Alcatraz Island.
Fog enters San Francisco Bay through the Golden Gate, seen here in August 2012 Satellite view of fog over the Golden Gate.jpg
Fog enters San Francisco Bay through the Golden Gate, seen here in August 2012

The Golden Gate is often shrouded in fog, especially during the summer. Heat generated in the California Central Valley causes air there to rise, creating a low pressure area that pulls in cool, moist air from over the Pacific Ocean. The Golden Gate forms the largest break in the hills of the California Coast Range, allowing a persistent, dense stream of fog to enter the bay there. [4] Although there is no weather station on Golden Gate proper, the area has a mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb) with very narrow temperature fluctuations, cool summers and mild winters. For the nearest weather station see the weatherbox of San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge being nearer the ocean and at elevation indicate it being cooler during summer days. Nearer the San Francisco urban core, the temperatures resemble the official NOAA weather station instead.

History

The Golden Gate photographed from Telegraph Hill by Carleton Watkins c. 1868 The Golden Gate, from Telegraph Hill, San Francisco LACMA M.91.359.75.jpg
The Golden Gate photographed from Telegraph Hill by Carleton Watkins c. 1868

Before the Europeans arrived in the 18th century, the area around the strait and the bay was inhabited by the Ohlone to the south and Coast Miwok people to the north. Descendants of both tribes remain in the area.[ citation needed ]

The strait was surprisingly elusive for early European explorers, presumably due to persistent summer fog. The strait is not recorded in the voyages of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo nor Francis Drake, both of whom may have explored the nearby coast in the 16th century in search of the fabled Northwest Passage.[ citation needed ] The strait is also unrecorded in observations by Spanish galleons returning from the Philippines that laid up in nearby Drakes Bay to the north. These galleons rarely passed east of the Farallon Islands (27 miles (43 km) west of the Golden Gate), for fear of the possibility of rocks between the islands and the mainland.[ citation needed ]

The first recorded observation of the strait occurred nearly two hundred years later than the earliest European explorations of the coast. In 1769, Sgt José Francisco Ortega, the leader of a scouting party sent north along the San Francisco Peninsula by Don Gaspar de Portolá from their expedition encampment in San Pedro Valley to locate the Point Reyes headlands, reported back to Portolá that he could not reach the location because of his encounter with the strait. [5] On August 5, 1775 Juan de Ayala and the crew of his ship San Carlos became the first Europeans known to have passed through the strait, anchoring in a cove behind Angel Island, the cove now named in Ayala's honor. Until the 1840s, the strait was called the "Boca del Puerto de San Francisco" ("Mouth of the Port of San Francisco"). On July 1, 1846, before the discovery of gold in California, the entrance acquired a new name. In his memoirs, John C. Frémont wrote, "To this Gate I gave the name of 'Chrysopylae', or 'Golden Gate'; for the same reasons that the harbor of Byzantium was called Chrysoceras, or Golden Horn." [6] He went on to comment that the strait was “a golden gate to trade with the Orient.” [7]

1920s

In the 1920s, no bridge spanned the watery expanse between San Francisco and Marin in California—so when the U.S. Post Office issued a postage stamp on May 1, 1923, celebrating The Golden Gate, the issue naturally portrayed the scene without a bridge. The schooner sailing ship in the engraving is the USS Babcock, which served in the United States Navy from 1917 to 1919, and is seen passing through the Golden Gate into San Francisco Bay, its port of call. [8]

The Golden Gate, featured on a postage stamp issued in 1923 Golden Gate22-20c.jpg
The Golden Gate, featured on a postage stamp issued in 1923

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate in California, as seen from the Marin Headlands looking south. Golden Gate 1.jpg
The Golden Gate in California, as seen from the Marin Headlands looking south.

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay onto the Pacific Ocean. As part of both US Highway 101 and California Route 1, it connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County.

The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge span in the world when completed in 1937, and is an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and California in general. Since its completion, the span length has been surpassed by eight other bridges. It still has the second longest suspension bridge main span in the United States, after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. In 2007, it was ranked fifth on the List of America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.

Nautical transportation

The Golden Gate strait serves as the primary access channel for nautical travel to and from the San Francisco Bay, one of the largest cargo ports in the United States. Commercial ports includes the Port of Oakland, the Port of Richmond, and the Port of San Francisco. Commercial cargo ships use the Golden Gate to access the San Francisco Bay, as well as barges, tankers, fishing boats, cruise ships, and privately owned boats, including wind-surfers and kite-boards. About 9000 ships moved through the Golden Gate in 2014, and a similar amount in 2015. [9] The U.S Coast Guard maintains a Vessel Traffic Service to monitor and regulate vessel traffic through the Golden Gate. [10]

For navigational guidance, there are white and green lights on the center of the span of the Golden Gate Bridge. [11] Lighthouses with beacons and foghorns provide alerts at Point Bonita, Point Diablo, Lime Point and Mile Rocks. Before the Golden Gate Bridge was built, a lighthouse protected the south side of the strait at Fort Point. Buoys and radar reflectors provide additional navigational aid at various locations throughout the strait. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

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San Pablo Bay

San Pablo Bay is a tidal estuary that forms the northern extension of San Francisco Bay in the East Bay and North Bay regions of the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California.

Marin Headlands

The Marin Headlands is a hilly peninsula at the southernmost end of Marin County, California, United States, located just north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge, which connects the two counties and peninsulas. The entire area is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Headlands are famous for their views of the Bay Area, especially of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area U.S. National Recreation Area surrounding San Francisco Bay Area

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Berkeley Hills Region of the Pacific Coast Ranges

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Marin Hills

The Marin Hills are a series of steep high ridges and peaks in southern Marin County. They are a part of the long Pacific Coast Ranges mountain system. The centerpoint of these hills is the 2,571 foot Mount Tamalpais near Mill Valley. The hills are bordered to the north by the Santa Rosa Plain and Laguna de Santa Rosa; to the east by San Pablo Bay, the northern arm of San Francisco Bay; to the south by Golden Gate Strait; and to the west by the San Andreas Fault, running through Tomales Bay, Olema Valley, Bolinas Lagoon, and Stinson Beach. Parts of the hills are protected for their scenic beauty by Mount Tamalpais State Park and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The many ridges and peaks of these hills form a dramatic backdrop to the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco skyline, and several towns around Richardson Bay when viewed from the south.

SS <i>City of Rio de Janeiro</i>

The SS City of Rio de Janeiro was an iron-hulled steam-powered passenger ship, launched in 1878, which sailed between San Francisco and various Asian Pacific ports. On 22 February 1901, the vessel sank after striking a submerged reef at the entry to San Francisco Bay while inward bound from Hong Kong. Of the approximately 220 passengers and crew on board, fewer than 85 people survived the sinking, while 135 others were killed in the catastrophe. The wreck lies in 287 feet (87 m) of water just off the Golden Gate and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as nationally significant.

Ferries of San Francisco Bay

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Point Bonita Lighthouse Lighthouse at Point Bonita at the San Francisco Bay entrance, California, US

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Rodeo Lagoon

Rodeo Lagoon is a coastal lagoon located in the Marin Headlands division of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is in southern Marin County, California. This brackish water body is separated from the Pacific Ocean by a sand bar that forms Rodeo Beach. Rodeo Lagoon stretches approximately 900 metres (3,000 ft) by 250 metres (820 ft), and is about 2 metres (6.6 ft) deep at its maximum depth. It covers a surface area of about 15 hectares.

The Raccoon Strait is a waterway of the San Francisco Bay between Angel Island and the Tiburon Peninsula, mainland Marin County, California. During the ice ages, when sea levels were considerably lower and San Francisco Bay was a grassy valley, the combined Sacramento-San Joaquin river flowed through what is now Raccoon Strait before flowing through the canyon at the Golden Gate.

Golden Gate Raptor Observatory

The Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO) is a long term program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in cooperation with the National Park Service. The GGRO's mission is to study migrating birds of prey along the Pacific coast and to inspire the preservation of raptor populations in California. Established in 1985, it is located in the Marin Headlands, just north of San Francisco, California. The Raptor Observatory operates under the philosophy that incorporating citizens into the process of gathering scientific data will deepen long-term conservation results. Consequently, the organization's small staff is supported by the work of 280+ highly trained volunteers, coming from all different disciplines. The GGRO publishes an annual report, contributes annual results to national databases, and collaborates on various research projects with local universities.

San Francisco Bay Area Conurbation in California, United States

The San Francisco Bay Area, popularly referred to as the Bay Area, is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun Bay estuaries in Northern California. Although the exact boundaries of the region are variously defined, the Bay Area is defined by the Association of Bay Area Governments to include the nine counties that border the aforementioned estuaries: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, and San Francisco. Other definitions may exclude parts of or even entire counties, or expand the boundaries to include neighboring counties that do not border the bay such as Santa Cruz and San Benito ; or San Joaquin, Merced, and Stanislaus.

Hawk Hill (California)

Hawk Hill is a 923-foot (281 m) peak in the Marin Headlands, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge and across the Golden Gate strait from San Francisco, California. The hill is within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

SS <i>City of Chester</i>

The SS City of Chester was a steamship built in 1875 that sank after a collision with RMS Oceanic at the Golden Gate in San Francisco Bay on August 22, 1888.

References

  1. "Under the Golden Gate Bridge - Views of the Sea Floor Near the Entrance to San Francisco Bay, California". pubs.usgs.gov. Department of the Interior. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  2. "GNIS Detail - San Francisco Bay". geonames.usgs.gov. U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  3. "SAN FRANCISCO NORTH, CA". USGS US Topo 7.5 - minute map. 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  4. James William Steele (1888). Rand, McNally & Co.'s New Overland Guide to the Pacific Coast: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. Rand, McNally. p.  175.
  5. Eldredge, Zoeth S. The beginnings of San Francisco. San Francisco: Zoeth S. Eldredge, 1912, 31-32.
  6. Gudde, Erwin G. California Place Names (2004) University of California Press, London, England. ISBN   0-520-24217-3.
  7. "What is a Name — The Golden Gate?". goldengatebridge.org. Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  8. Juell, Rod. "Arago: 20-cent Golden Gate". arago.si.edu. Smithsonian Postal Museum. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  9. "Golden Gate Ship Traffic". Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region: 2. 2015.
  10. "Reducing Ship Strike Risk to Whales - Policy and Management". sanctuaries.noaa.gov. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  11. "Chart 18649". www.charts.noaa.gov. National Ocean Service. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  12. "LIGHT LIST, PACIFIC COAST AND PACIFIC ISLANDS" (PDF). United States Coast Guard. VI: 37. 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.