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Rivers of Alaska


Alaska landscape
Tundra of Alaska

The principal river is the Yukon River, which rises in the nearby Yukon Territory. About two-thirds of its 3,190 km (1,980 mi) course lies in Alaska. The Yukon is one of the longest navigable rivers in the world, and it flows westward in a gently curving arc across the Interior region to the Bering Sea just south of Norton Sound. Shallow-draft riverboats and barges can navigate its whole length during the ice-free summer weeks. Its main tributaries include the Porcupine, the Tanana, the Koyukuk, and the Innoko rivers. The silt laden, glacially fed Yukon forms a large delta with numerous shallow channels, or distributaries.

Kuskokwim


The second great river of Alaska is the Kuskokwim, 1,165 km (724 mi) long. Its four headstreams rise in the Alaska Range. The river winds southwestward to the Bering Sea. Near the end of its course the river approaches the Yukon, and shallow channels link the two river systems.

The Colville River flows into the Beaufort Sea; the Noatak, Kobuk, and Selawik rivers reach the sea near Kotzebue. The main route connecting Anchorage to Fairbanks, over Broad Pass, follows the Susitna and Chulitna rivers. The Copper River forms a huge delta, and provides access to the Interior from Glenallen. Cordova was at one time the port for the Copper and Chitina rivers. Wrangell remains the port for the Stikine River. The Alsek River is unusual in that it does not form an easily visible mouth or delta.

Lakes


Alaska’s largest lake is Iliamna Lake at the foot of the Alaska Peninsula, covering 2,647 sq km (1,022 sq mi).

TMeasured roughly along its perimeter, Alaska’s coastline is 10,690 km (6,640 mi) long. However, if all the inlets and islands are taken into account, the total length is 54,563 km (33,904 mi). Along the Pacific coast, the shoreline is deeply indented.

The Inside Passage, sheltered from the open ocean, is a calm body of water, but it is difficult to navigate in foggy weather. The coast of the Gulf of Alaska has tides that reach as high as 6 m (20 ft). It is buffeted by major storms, and occasionally by tsunamis caused by earthquakes under the ocean. At Cook Inlet high tide and low tide sometimes differ as much as 9 m (30 ft).

The current through the Gulf of Alaska is known as the Alaska Current. It flows westward and then, in the eastern Aleutians, turns northward to bring warm water along the western coast of Alaska all the way to Point Barrow. The coastline of the Bering Sea, except for part of the southern Seward Peninsula, is mostly shallow, with offshore bars and lagoons. Most of the coast of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas is similar. The Bering Sea contains ice during the winter, and the marginal region of the ice is one of the world’s major fisheries. In summer the ice slowly retreats northward into the Arctic Ocean, allowing navigation along the Arctic Coast by late summer. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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