19 Facts About San Francisco Bay


San Francisco Bay is a large tidal estuary in the US state of California, and gives its name to the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Isolated in the center of the San Francisco Bay is Alcatraz, the site of the famous federal penitentiary.

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San Francisco Bay is thought to represent a down-warping of the Earth's crust between the San Andreas Fault to the west and the Hayward Fault to the east, though the precise nature of this remains under study.

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Until the last ice age, the basin which is filled by the San Francisco Bay was a large linear valley with small hills, similar to most of the valleys of the Coast Ranges.

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The first European to see San Francisco Bay is likely N de Morena who was left at New Albion at Drakes Bay in Marin County, California, by Sir Francis Drake in 1579 and then walked to Mexico.

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In 1921, a tablet was dedicated by a group of men including Lewis Francis Byington, in downtown San Francisco, marking the site of the original shoreline.

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San Francisco Bay became the center of American settlement and commerce in the Far West through most of the remainder of the 19th century.

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San Francisco Bay continues to support some of the densest industrial production and urban settlement in the United States.

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The San Francisco Bay Area is the American West's second-largest urban area, with approximately seven million residents.

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San Francisco Bay is recognized for protection by the California Bays and Estuaries Policy, with oversight provided by the San Francisco Estuary Partnership.

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San Francisco Bay provided the nation's first wildlife refuge, Oakland's artificial Lake Merritt, constructed in the 1860s, and America's first urban National Wildlife Refuge, the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in 1972.

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Salt produced from San Francisco Bay is produced in salt evaporation ponds and is shipped throughout the Western United States to bakeries, canneries, fisheries, cheese makers and other food industries and used to de-ice winter highways, clean kidney dialysis machines, for animal nutrition, and in many industries.

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San Francisco Bay was once considered a hotspot for polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants used to make upholstered furniture and infant care items less flammable.

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San Francisco Bay's profile changed dramatically in the late 19th century and again with the initiation of dredging by the US Army Corps of Engineers in the 20th century.

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San Francisco Bay pilots trained for the visit on a simulator at the California Maritime Academy for over a year.

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San Francisco Bay was traversed by watercraft before the arrival of Europeans.

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San Francisco Bay is spanned by nine bridges, eight of which carry cars.

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California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has developed a safe eating advisory for fish caught in the San Francisco Bay based on levels of mercury or PCBs found in local species.

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San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail is a planned system of designated trailheads designed to improve non-motorized small boat access to the bay.

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