San Francisco Bay

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San Francisco Bay,

50 mi (80 km) long and from 3 to 13 mi (4.8–21 km) wide, W Calif.; entered through the Golden GateGolden Gate,
strait, 4 mi (6.4 km) long and 1 to 2 mi (1.6–3.2 km) wide, linking San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean. It was discovered in 1579 by the English explorer Sir Francis Drake.
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, a strait between two peninsulas. The bay is as deep as 100 ft (30 m) in spots, with a channel 50 ft (15 m) deep maintained through the sandbar off the Golden Gate. San Francisco is on the southern peninsula; on the northern peninsula are the residential suburbs of Marin co., while on the eastern shore of the crescent-shaped bay are such industrial cities as Alameda, Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond. The Santa Clara Valley, part of a great depression paralleling the coast, is the landward extension of the bay. Angel IslandAngel Island,
largest island in San Francisco Bay, W Calif. Explored by the Spanish in 1775, it came under U.S. control in 1851. The U.S. army used the island as a base from 1863 to 1946, and from 1955 to 1962 a radar and missile site was there.
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, AlcatrazAlcatraz
[Sp. Álcatraces=pelicans], rocky island in San Francisco Bay, W Calif, about one mile (1.61 km) north of San Francisco. Alcatraz was first sighted by the Spanish in 1772 (and possibly three years earlier).
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, and Yerba Buena IslandYerba Buena Island,
300 acres (121 hectares), W Calif., in San Francisco Bay. It is the midpoint of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, which crosses the island through a tunnel. There are coast guard facilities on the island.
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 with neighboring Treasure Island (site of an international exposition, 1939–40) are in the bay. With San Pablo Bay and Suisun Bay, the natural harbor of San Francisco Bay is one of the best in the world. On those secondary bays and on Carquinez Strait, which connects them, are the cities of Vallejo, Benicia, Martinez, and Pittsburg. The Bay Area is served by a network of bridges, most important of which are the Golden Gate BridgeGolden Gate Bridge,
across the Golden Gate from San Francisco to Marin Co., W Calif.; built 1933–37. Its overall length is 9,266 ft (2,824 m); its main span across the strait, 4,200 ft (1,280 m), is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. Joseph B.
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, the San Francisco–Oakland Bay BridgeSan Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge,
double-decked structure, W Calif.; built 1933–36 and (eastern section replacement) 2002–13. It has a total length of 8.25 mi (13.2 km).
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, the Richmond–San Rafael BridgeRichmond–San Rafael Bridge,
W Calif., c.4 mi (6 km) long, part of the network of bridges serving the San Francisco Bay area; completed in 1957. It provides an essential link between the east side of San Francisco Bay and the north coastal counties on the west side of the bay.
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, and the San Mateo–Hayward Bridge. The Trans-Bay Tube, a tunnel 3.5 mi (5.6 km) long between San Francisco and Oakland, is one of the longest underwater rapid transit tubes in the world. The tunnel was especially constructed to absorb earthquake tremors. Several U.S. navy facilities are located in the region. The English navigator Sir Francis DrakeDrake, Sir Francis,
1540?–1596, English navigator and admiral, first Englishman to circumnavigate the world (1577–80). Early Career

He was born in Devonshire, the son of a yeoman, and was at an early age apprenticed to a ship captain.
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 visited the bay in 1579; the Spanish explored it more fully in the late 18th cent.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

San Francisco Bay


a bay of the Pacific, off the coast of the USA. San Francisco Bay connects with the Pacific through the Golden Gate strait. It is 88 km long and up to 20 km wide. Much of the bay is shallow, but near the Golden Gate strait, over an area of more than 100 sq km, depths exceed 10 m. The Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers empty into the bay. The city of San Francisco is to the west and the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond to the east. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge crosses the bay at Yerba Buena Island, and the San Mateo Bridge crosses it farther south. At approximately 13 km each, they are among the world’s longest bridges.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

San Francisco Bay

an inlet of the Pacific in W California, linked with the open sea by the Golden Gate strait. Length: about 80 km (50 miles). Greatest width: 19 km (12 miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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