My Alaska facts give the Alaskan tourist information about what to expect in the way of dramatic Alaskan phenomena. And I also cover some of the more casual information.
For instance, did you know that Alaska has earthquakes on a regular basis and volcanic eruptions occur every few years? That may be surprising, but Alaska is part of the “Pacific Rim Ring of Fire” as the scientists call it. This Ring of Fire produces about 90% of the world’s earthquakes and has over 75% of the word’s volcanoes, active or not. So Alaska has its share of them.
But I don’t want to scare you away with that information, so let me tell you a little more about the Alask earthquake and about the type of Alaskan volcano that is active and the extinct or dormant Alaska volcanoes you can climb. It’s not really as scary as you might think.
Many sights listed below can be reached by local Alaska air taxi or charter services. And there are many of these, even in small villages.
Alaska Facts on the recent and historical activity of some Alaska volcanoes:
- Mt. Redoubt– Located on west side of Cook Inlet, recent eruptive activity in 2009.
- Mt. Cleveland– Located on Chuginadak Island, Aleutian Chain, recent eruptive activity in 2009. This island was appropriately named by the Aleut Native inhabitants. “Chuginadak” means “goddess of fire” in the Aleut language. And it is the ONLY Alaskan volcano recorded as having caused a death. That occurred in 1944, in an unusual accident.
- Mt. Shishaldin– Located on the Aleutian Chain, recent eruptive activity in 2009.
- Mt. Augustine– Located on an island in southern Cook Inlet; recent eruptive activity in 2006.
- Mt. Spurr– Located on west side of northern Cook Inlet; recent eruptive activity in 1992.
These are just a few of Alaska’s active volcanoes. If you are looking for volcanoes that you can climb and explore, take a look at some Alaska volcanoes that are dormant.
Now that we’ve gotten the more dramatic information out of the way, let’s look at some other valuable Alaska facts for vacationers.
Would you like to find out more about the stunningly beautiful Alaska Northern Lights, also known as the Alaskan Aurora Borealis? This night time lighting display captures people’s imagination and will keep you staring at the sky for a long time!
Of course there is a lot of interest in Alaskan glaciers, which are also awe-inspiring. You’ll find them slowly and steadily grinding their way out of mountain valleys and falling into lakes, rivers and ocean. They abound in Alaska’s southeastern panhandle and all through the mountainous regions in the southern part of Alaska.
Alaska Facts on a few additional important glaciers that are less easily reached:
- Glacier Bay National Park– In southeastern Alaska panhandle, just northwest of Juneau. In 1794 Glacier Bay was mostly a solid mass of ice, which then melted and became a bay. Today, it has 16 glaciers that are usually viewed from cruise ships, or by boat or air charter.
- Columbia– One of the fastest moving glaciers in the world. It has lost almost a mile in length since 1982. Located in a bay, just west of the Valdez fjord. Can be viewed from the Alaska Ferry, a cruise ship, or by boat or air charter.
- Knik Glacier– Is a 25-mile long and 5-mile wide glacier, just north of Anchorage. It feeds Knik River, which empties into the north arm of Cook Inlet, just south of the Palmer – Wasilla area. Can be viewed by air charter.
- Nabesna Glacier– This 75-mile long glacier is located in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, which has a few trails to other glaciers. It is the longest valley glacier in North America. Starting near Mt. Wrangell and traveling northward, it feeds the Nabesna River which flows into the Tanana River, one of Alaska’s largest rivers. Can be viewed by air charter or backwoods hiking.
And the myriad numbers of Alaska’s hot springs is amazing. But again, that is because Alaska is in a highly active geological zone. Anywhere you find volcanic activity, you’ll generally also find hot springs. What’s interesting is that we have a large number of hot springs in the far northern regions, where there are only dormant or inactive volcanoes.
Now that we’ve covered some major Alaska facts Alaskan tourists would want to know, here are some others you might not have heard elsewhere:
Other Geographical Alaska Facts:
- With endless islands and fjords along its coast, Alaska’s coastline is longer than the rest of the U.S. Coastline put together.
- Besides being home to North America’s tallest mounting, Mt. McKinley, Alaska holds the record for the 2nd highest mountain in both the United States and Canada—Mt. Saint Elias at 18,008 feet.
- Mt. Bona in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, at 16,421 feet, is the tallest volcanic mountain in the United States.
- Alaska’s Yukon River at 2300 miles in length is the 3rd longest in the U.S. being surpassed by the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers only.
Other interesting Alaska Facts:
- Clam Gulch, on the Kenai Peninsula, is one of the best clam-digging locations on the west coast of America.
- Though Alaska is 1/5th the size of all the other states put together, its total population is less than any of the major cities, such as New York, Chicago, or LA.
- Want to call someone in Alaska? The prefix is 907, if they have a phone!
- Alaska Nellie’s Homestead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is at mile 23 of the Seward Highway, just a ways south of Ptarmigan Creek.
Read More Interesting Facts About Alaska
My Alaska Nellie Story:
A schoolmate, my sister and I visited Alaska Nellie when I was in 3rd grade. She was dressed all in black from neck to ankle and wore high-top black boots, typical of her era. Her walls were completely covered with newspaper clippings and magazine articles of her exploits. She was a famous trophy hunter, so this was an exciting tour for youngsters! The Alaska magazine featured articles on her several times over the years.
- And if you ask, “what is Alaska famous for?”, I would say that it’s not just Alaska’s individual features, but a combination of its many contrasts that makes it famous: Tremendous amounts of glacial ice next to chains of volcanic mountains. Hot springs popping up everywhere in the deep arctic cold. Short, cool summers but long hours of sunshine that produce gigantic vegetables. And equally short, dark winter days that don’t seem dark at all, being lighted by stars, moon and northern lights shining on snow-blanketed ground.
An Alaska Fact To Remember: Most of all, in a wild and rough land where people are scarce, it is the helpfulness and warm-heartedness of those you meet that you won’t forget!
I hope my Alaska facts have been of interest and may help you enjoy your Alaska summer or winter vacation more. Now if you haven’t looked yet, learning some facts about the Alaska wildlife might help with your vacation plans too…