Red Bluff Bay, Baranof Island

Red Bluff Bay, Baranof Island

by | Sep 11, 2023

Red Bluff Bay is a fjord about 4 miles (6.5 km) long and 0.3 miles (05. km) wide on the east coast of Baranof Island, opening into Chatham Strait, about 70 miles (113 km) west of Petersburg and 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Sitka, Alaska. The fjord has two basins separated by a shallow sill. The inner basin is about 2 miles (3.2 km) long and 40 fathoms (240 m) deep, the sill is only 7 fathoms (42 m) deep, and the outer basin is 2 miles (3.2 km) long and over 50 fathoms (300 m) deep. A cluster of small islands at the bay entrance occupies another sill about 6 fathoms (36 m) deep separating the fjord from Chatham Strait.

In 1895, Lieutenant Commander E.K. Moore of the U.S. Navy named the bay for the reddish-brown rock exposed on ridges along the north shore. In the late 19th or early 20th century, a salmon cannery was built near the bay entrance. In 1922, this facility was converted to a herring plant. In 1933, Ray Race who worked at the plant found chromite deposits, and 28 claims were staked covering nearly the entire area of the rock outcrop. In 1939, and again in 1941, the U.S. Geological Survey mapping the deposits, but no mining was ever attempted. The cannery burned down about 1935, and since that time there has been no industrial activity in the bay.

Chromite is a mineral providing the only economical source of the metal chromium. Chromium is extremely hard and is highly resistant to tarnishing. Polished chromium reflects almost 70% of the visible light spectrum. Chromium is the main additive in stainless steel, to which it adds anti-corrosive properties. The largest producers of chromium ore have been South Africa (48%), Kazakhstan (13%), Turkey (11%), and India (10%), with several other countries producing the rest of about 18% of the world production. Read more here and here. Explore more of Red Bluff Bay here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2022 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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