Postglacial Flooding of the Bering Land Bridge:
A Geospatial Animation

<--  The reduced-resolution animation at left shows sea level rising across the land bridge between Siberia (left) and Alaska (right).

Full-resolution QuickTime movies are available below for analysis, education, and outreach.

During the Last Glacial Maximum, about 21,000 years ago, global sea level was approximately 120 m (400 ft) lower than today. The Bering Land Bridge existed as a vast tundra plain connecting Asia and North America. As the world's glaciers and ice sheets melted over the following millenia, rising sea level flooded the land bridge — blocking migration routes for animals and humans.

The land bridge animation is based on the best available digital information, and reveals large-scale patterns of shifting coastlines and environments as the land bridge evolved. Bathymetry and elevation are color-coded in 1000 calendar-year time steps.


The following QuickTime .mov files require QuickTime Player for Windows or Macintosh (as a standalone application or browser plug-in). Click on the links to view. Right-click or option-click to download for later use.

Large Window (624x630)
3.8 MB

Medium Window (374x378)
1.6 MB
Small Window (187x189)
0.5 MB

Feel free to download the animations for use in websites or presentations. Please cite: Manley, W.F., 2002, Postglacial Flooding of the Bering Land Bridge: A Geospatial Animation: INSTAAR, University of Colorado, v1,


Learn more about the land bridge, ongoing research, how the animation was created, and related uncertainties.

See Also: "Investigating an Arctic Gateway", a recent Geotimes article on the land bridge.


The Digital Elevation Model (DEM), including bathymetry, is available as a floating-point grid for use in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Download (3.3 MB), a compressed folder containing: .flt, .hdr, and .prj files; a thumbnail .gif file; and metadata files.



The Bering Land Bridge animation is made possible through funding from the National Science Foundation's program for Arctic Natural Sciences (NSF Award OPP-9977972). Thanks go also to Julie Brigham-Grette (Univ. of Massachusetts), Scott Elias (Royal Halloway - Univ. of London), and Darrell Kaufman (N. Arizona Univ.) for constructive comments.