Strait of Georgia

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Strait of Georgia
PNW-straits.jpg
The Strait of Georgia with sediment from the Fraser River clearly visible.
Canada British Columbia relief location map.jpg
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Strait of Georgia
Location British Columbia and Washington
Coordinates 49°17′39″N123°48′26″W / 49.29417°N 123.80722°W / 49.29417; -123.80722 Coordinates: 49°17′39″N123°48′26″W / 49.29417°N 123.80722°W / 49.29417; -123.80722
Part of Salish Sea
River sources Fraser River, Squamish River
Ocean/sea sources Pacific Ocean
Basin  countries Canada and United States
Surface area6,800 km2 (2,600 sq mi)
Average depth156 m (512 ft)
Max. depth420 m (1,380 ft) [1]
Residence time 160 days [2]
Sections/sub-basins Malaspina Strait
Settlements Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Delta, Nanaimo, Courtenay
Looking west across the Straight from Iona Park in Richmond towards Gabriola and Valdes Islands. Looking across the Straight of Georgia from Iona Island.jpg
Looking west across the Straight from Iona Park in Richmond towards Gabriola and Valdes Islands.

The Strait of Georgia (French : Détroit de Géorgie) or the Georgia Strait [3] is an arm of the Salish Sea between Vancouver Island and the extreme southwestern mainland coast of British Columbia, Canada and the extreme northwestern mainland coast of Washington, United States. It is approximately 240 kilometres (150 mi) long and varies in width from 20 to 58 kilometres (12 to 36 mi). [4] Along with the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, it is a constituent part of the Salish Sea.

Contents

Archipelagos and narrow channels mark each end of the Strait of Georgia, the Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands in the south, and the Discovery Islands in the north. The main channels to the south are Boundary Pass, Haro Strait and Rosario Strait, which connect the Strait of Georgia to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. In the north, Discovery Passage is the main channel connecting the Strait of Georgia to Johnstone Strait. The strait is a major navigation channel on the west coast of North America, owing to the presence of the port of Vancouver, and also due to its role as the southern entrance to the Intracoastal route known as the Inside Passage.

Geography

The United States Geological Survey defines the southern boundary of the Strait of Georgia as a line running from East Point on Saturna Island to Patos Island, Sucia Island, and Matia Island, then to Point Midgley on Lummi Island. This line touches the northern edges of Rosario Strait, which leads south to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Boundary Pass, which leads south to Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. [5]

The Strait of Georgia has a mean depth of 156 m (512 ft) and average surface area of 6,800 km2 (2,600 sq mi). The Ballenas Basin in the centre of the strait reaches a maximum depth of 420 m (1,380 ft) approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) north of Nanaimo. [1] [6]

The Fraser River accounts for roughly 80 percent of the freshwater entering the strait. Water circulates in the strait in a generally counterclockwise direction. [1]

Major islands

The strait contains several major islands, the largest by far being Texada Island at 300.45 km2 (116.00 sq mi). Other major islands include Nelson Island, Denman Island, Lasqueti Island, and Hornby Island.

"Gulf of Georgia"

The term "Gulf of Georgia" includes waters other than the Georgia Strait proper, such as the inter-insular straits and channels of the Gulf Islands, and may refer to communities on the shore of southern Vancouver Island. As defined by George Vancouver in 1792, the Gulf of Georgia included all the inland waters beyond the eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, including Puget Sound, Bellingham Bay, the waters around the San Juan Islands, as well as the Strait of Georgia. [7]

History

Georgia Strait in the morning Strait of Georgia.jpg
Georgia Strait in the morning

First Nations communities have surrounded the Strait of Georgia for thousands of years. The first European exploration of the area was undertaken by Captain Jose Maria Narvaez and Pilot Juan Carrasco of Spain in 1791. At this time Francisco de Eliza gave the strait the name "Gran Canal de Nuestra Señora del Rosario la Marinera."

In 1792, it was renamed for King George III [8] as the "Gulf of Georgia" by George Vancouver of Great Britain, during his extensive expedition along the west coast of North America. Vancouver designated the mainland in this region as New Georgia and areas farther north as New Hanover and New Bremen.

The June 23, 1946, Vancouver Island earthquake shocked the Strait of Georgia region, causing the bottom of Deep Bay to sink between 3 and 26 m (9.8 and 85.3 ft).

The two busiest routes of the BC Ferries system cross the strait, between Tsawwassen (south of Vancouver) and Swartz Bay (near Victoria) and between Horseshoe Bay (north of Vancouver) and Nanaimo.

The Strait of Georgia is known as a premier scuba diving and whale watching location.[ citation needed ]

In 1967, the Georgia Strait inspired the name of Vancouver's alternative newspaper, The Georgia Straight , which has been published continuously since.

Cities

Towns and cities on the strait include Campbell River, Courtenay, Comox, Qualicum Beach, Parksville, Lantzville, and Nanaimo on the western shore, as well as Powell River, Sechelt, Gibsons, and Greater Vancouver on the east.

Nanaimo from Georgia Strait Nanaimo from Georgia Strait (3923152907).jpg
Nanaimo from Georgia Strait

Across the border in the United States, Bellingham, Washington and other communities also lie on the eastern shore. Other settlements on Vancouver Island (such as Duncan) and the mainland are separated from Georgia Strait itself by islands and lesser straits but are often spoken of as being in the Strait of Georgia region.

Transportation

BC Ferries operates ferry services connecting Vancouver Island with the mainland. Notable lines include Duke Point-Tsawwassen, Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay, and Little River-Westview. Minor ferry operators and water taxis provide service to minor islands dotting the strait.

Salish Sea

Sundown over the strait from the ferry Strait of Georgia Vancouver.jpg
Sundown over the strait from the ferry

In March 2008, the Chemainus First Nation proposed renaming the strait the "Salish Sea", an idea that reportedly met with approval by B.C.'s Aboriginal Relations Minister Mike de Jong, who pledged to put it before the B.C. cabinet for discussion. Making the name "Salish Sea" official required a formal application to the Geographical Names Board of Canada. [9] A parallel American movement promoting the name had a different definition, combining of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound as well as the Strait of Georgia and related waters under the name Salish Sea. This latter definition was made official in 2009 by geographic boards of Canada and the United States.

In October 2009, the Washington state Board of Geographic Names approved the Salish Sea toponym, not to replace the names of the Strait of Georgia, Puget Sound, and Strait of Juan de Fuca, but instead as a collective term for all three. [10] The British Columbia Geographical Names Office passed a resolution recommending that the name only be adopted by the Geographical Names Board of Canada should its US counterpart approve the name change. [10] [11] [12] The United States Board on Geographic Names approved the name on November 12, 2009 [13] and Canada approved it in 2010.

Counties and regional districts facing the Strait

See also

Related Research Articles

Puget Sound Deep water sound of the Salish Sea in northwestern Washington, United States

Puget Sound is a sound of the Pacific Northwest, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, and part of the Salish Sea. It is located along the northwestern coast of the U.S. state of Washington. It is a complex estuarine system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and two minor connections to the open Pacific Ocean via the Strait of Juan de Fuca—Admiralty Inlet being the major connection and Deception Pass and Swinomish Channel being the minor.

San Juan Islands Archipelago in the Salish Sea in Washington, US

The San Juan Islands are an archipelago in the Pacific Northwest of the United States between the U.S. state of Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The San Juan Islands are part of Washington state, and form the core of San Juan County.

Strait of Juan de Fuca Strait between Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula

The Strait of Juan de Fuca is a body of water about 96 miles long that is the Salish Sea's outlet to the Pacific Ocean. The international boundary between Canada and the United States runs down the centre of the Strait.

Vancouver Island Island on the western coast of Canada

Vancouver Island is an island in the northeastern Pacific Ocean and part of the Canadian province of British Columbia. The island is 456 km (283 mi) in length, 100 km (62 mi) in width at its widest point, and 32,134 km2 (12,407 sq mi) in area. The island is the largest by area and the most populous along the west coasts of the Americas.

Esquimalt District municipality in British Columbia, Canada

The Township of Esquimalt is a municipality at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. It is bordered to the east by the provincial capital, Victoria, to the south by the Strait of Juan de Fuca, to the west by Esquimalt Harbour and Royal Roads, to the northwest by the New Songhees 1A Indian reserve and the town of View Royal, and to the north by a narrow inlet of water called the Gorge, across which is the district municipality of Saanich. It is almost tangential to Esquimalt 1 Indian Reserve near Admirals Road. It is one of the 13 municipalities of Greater Victoria and part of the Capital Regional District.

Gulf Islands Group of islands off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The Gulf Islands are a group of islands located in the Salish Sea between Vancouver Island and the mainland coast of British Columbia.

Inside Passage Shipping route along the northwest coast of North America

The Inside Passage is a coastal route for ships and boats along a network of passages which weave through the islands on the Pacific Northwest coast of the North American Fjordland. The route extends from southeastern Alaska in the United States, through western British Columbia in Canada, to northwestern Washington state in the United States. Ships using the route can avoid some of the bad weather in the open ocean and may visit some of the many isolated communities along the route. The Inside Passage is heavily travelled by cruise ships, freighters, tugs with tows, fishing craft, pleasure craft, and ships of the Alaska Marine Highway, BC Ferries, and Washington State Ferries systems. Coast Guard vessels of both Canada and the United States patrol and transit in the Passage.

Index of British Columbia–related articles Wikipedia index

The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to the Canadian province of British Columbia.

Georgia Depression

The Georgia Depression is a depression in the Pacific Northwest region of western North America. The depression includes the lowland regions of southwestern British Columbia and northwestern Washington along the shores of the Salish Sea.

British Columbia Coast Coastal region of British Columbia, Canada

The British Columbia Coast, popularly referred to as the BC Coast or simply the Coast, is a geographic region of the Canadian province of British Columbia. As the entire western continental coastline of Canada along the Pacific Ocean is in B.C., it is synonymous with being the West Coast of Canada.

Salish Sea Marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean in southwestern British Columbia and northwestern Washington state

The Salish Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean located in the Canadian province of British Columbia and the U.S. state of Washington. It includes the Strait of Georgia, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, and an intricate network of connecting channels and adjoining waterways.

Haro Strait Navigable international boundary waterway connecting Juan de Fuca and Georgia Straits

Haro Strait, often referred to as the Haro Straits because it is really a series of straits, is one of the main channels connecting the Strait of Georgia to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, separating Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, Canada from the San Juan Islands of Washington state in the United States.

Coast Salish Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America

The Coast Salish is a group of ethnically and linguistically related Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, living in British Columbia, Canada and the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon. They speak one of the Coast Salish languages. The Nuxalk nation are usually included in the group, although their language is more closely related to Interior Salish languages.

Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council is a First Nations Tribal Council located in British Columbia, Canada, with offices in Tsawwassen and Nanaimo. NmTC advises and assists its 11-member Nations in the areas of Community Planning, Economic Development, Financial Management, Governance and Technical Services NmTC is also actively involved in fostering dialogue and understanding between its members and their neighbouring communities.

Stzuminus First Nation

The Stz'uminus First Nation is a First Nations government located in southeastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, near the town of Ladysmith, British Columbia. The Stz'uminus First Nation is a member government of the Naut'sa mawt Tribal Council. In early 2009, chief and council unanimously passed a band council resolution to officially change the name from Chemainus to Stz'uminus in order to reflect its original Hul'qumi'num language name.

Juan Carrasco was a Spanish naval officer, explorer, and navigator. He is remembered mainly for his work in the Pacific Northwest during the late 18th century. He was second in command of the 1791 voyage of José María Narváez, the first European exploration of the Strait of Georgia.

Sutil Channel

Sutil Channel is a broad strait located in the Discovery Islands of British Columbia, Canada.

The Coastal Waters of Southeast Alaska and British Columbia is a marine area designated by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

Nanaimo Harbour

Nanaimo Harbour, also known as the Port of Nanaimo, is a natural harbour on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The City of Nanaimo runs along the west side of the harbour. Three islands, Newcastle, Protection, and Gabriola, along with Duke Point, form the eastern edge. The Port of Nanaimo includes the Inner Harbour, Nanaimo River estuary, Departure Bay, the waters on the east side of Newcastle and Protection Islands, and Northumberland Channel. The port is under the management of the Nanaimo Port Authority.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Environmental History and Features of Puget Sound Archived 2009-05-13 at the Wayback Machine , NOAA-NWFSC
  2. Pawlowicz, Rich; Riche, Olivier; Halverson, Mark (2007). "The circulation and residence time of the strait of Georgia using a simple mixing‐box approach". Atmosphere-Ocean. 45 (4): 173–193. doi:10.3137/ao.450401. ISSN   0705-5900. S2CID   129018974.
  3. BCGNIS "Georgia Strait"
  4. Environmental History and Features of Puget Sound Archived 2009-05-13 at the Wayback Machine , NOAA-NWFSC
  5. "Strait of Georgia". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey.
  6. Picard, K. (2006). Geological Survey of Canada, Current Research (Online) no. 2006-A5. Natural Resources Canada. ISBN   978-0-662-43483-2.
  7. Roberts, John E. (2005). A Discovery Journal: George Vancouver's First Survey Season - 1792. Trafford Publishing. p. 72. ISBN   978-1-4120-7097-3.
  8. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp.  136.
  9. "Strait of Georgia could be renamed the Salish Sea". Canadian Press. CBC.ca. 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
  10. 1 2 "STATE BOARD ON GEOGRAPHIC NAMES APPROVES 'SALISH SEA'". 2009-10-30. Archived from the original on 2013-10-30.
  11. Washington state adopts “Salish Sea” name for body of water including Strait of Georgia, Carlito Pablo, Georgia Straight, October 30, 2009
  12. Berger, Knute (October 20, 2009). "Smooth Sailing for the Salish Sea?". Crosscut . Archived from the original on September 26, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  13. Berger, Knute (November 12, 2009). "U.S. approves Salish Sea name". Crosscut . Archived from the original on August 14, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011.

Further reading

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