Great Land of Alaska

Alaskan Superlatives

Geologic Activity

A 1958 earthquake shook 90 million tons of rock loose from the cliffs surrounding Lituya Bay. This created a gigantic harbor wave that surged up to 1,740 feet (530 meters) up the sides of mountains, the greatest height ever attained by any form of wave in recorded history.

The Good Friday Earthquake of 1964 measured 9.2 on the Richter scale, North America's largest ever recorded and the 2nd largest ever recorded in world history. The energy released was equivalent to 4,000,000,000,000 pounds (1,800,000,000,000 kg) of explosives. The shaking lasted for about 4 minutes.

The Good Friday Earthquake altered more of the earth's crust than any other seismic event on record.

On November 3, 2002, a 7.9 earthquake hit the area near Denali. This was North America's largest inland earthquake in almost 150 years. Alaska is so sparsely populated that the damage from this quake was relatively mild.

The November 3 Denali Fault quake of 2002 was the world's strongest earthquake of that year.

Alaska is the most siesmically active region in North America.

Three of the 10 largest earthquakes ever recorded in the world were in Alaska.

11% of the world's earthquakes occur in Alaska.

The 600-mile (967 km) Denali Fault System is the longest fault in North America.

The Mt. Katmai eruption of 1912 was the 20th Century's largest eruption. The heat melted all glaciers clinging to the mountainsides. Since then, new glaciers have formed, making them among the world's youngest glaciers, and among the few glaciers in the world whose exact age is known.

Mt. Wrangell of the Wrangell Mountains is one of the largest andesitic volcanoes in the world. It is the world's 21st largest active volcano.

The six-mile (10 km) Aniakchak Crater caldera is one of the largest in the world.

More than 10% of the world's known volcanoes are in Alaska.


The world's largest omnivore, the Grizzly Bear, lives in Alaska.

The Kodiak Brown Bear is the world's largest bear.

The world's densest population of Grizzly Bears is thought to be on Admiralty Island in the southeast--more than one per square mile.

Some of the world's largest moose are found in Alaska.

More bald eagles inhabit Southeast Alaska than anywhere else in the world.

The world's entire dusky Canada goose population nests in Cu River Delta.

The world record sportgear-caught King Salmon (97 pounds / 44 kg) was caught on the Kenai River.

Commonly exceeding 300 lbs. (136 kg), Alaska's Pacific Halibut are the world's largest halibut.

The world's most northerly run of Steelhead Trout is in the Kanektok River in the Ahklun Mountains (a sub-range of the Kuskokwim Mountains).

The world's largest jellyfish, the Lion's Mane, is found in Alaskan waters. Its bell can exceed 3 feet (1 meter) and its tentacles can be more than 100 feet (30 meters) long.

The Aleutian Islands and the lower half of the Alaska Peninsula is one of the most extensive treeless zones in the world.

Geography / Terrain

Alaska has 8 of the 20 highest peaks in North America.

With its peak at 20,320 feet (6,194 meters), Denali is the highest peak in North America. Measured from base to peak, it is the largest land-based mountain in the world. Even though Everest's peak is 29,028 feet (8,848 meters) high, the mountain itself is only about 11,000 feet (3,353 meters) tall.

Denali Park's Great Gorge is the world's deepest gorge; usually not thought of as such because it's currently filled with glacial ice.

There are more active glaciers and ice fields in Alaska than in the rest of the inhabited world.

Hubbard Glacier is the longest valley glacier in North America.

At 75 miles (121 km) long, Nabesna Glacier in the Wrangell Mountains is the longest inland glacier in North America.

Bering Glacier is the largest glacier in continental North America; it covers about 2,250 square miles (3,621 sq. km).

The St. Elias Mountains of southeast Alaska are the highest coastal mountains in the world.

The St. Elias Mountains have the largest glaciers of continental North America.

In vertical relief, the St. Elias Mountains exceed the Himalayas.

The Lynn Canal-Chatham Strait of southeast Alaska is the longest fjord in the North American continent.

The Yukon River is the world's 22nd longest river and North America's 5th longest river, approximately 1,979 miles (3,184 km) long.

Cook Inlet has North America's (and possibly the world's) second highest tides.

At 2,294 miles (3,700 km) long, the Aleutian Trench is the 3rd longest oceanic trench in the world.

Point Barrow is the northernmost point of continental North America. Amatignak Island in the Aleutians Islands is the westernmost point of North America. Since the Aleutian islands extend past the 180° longitude line, Alaska's Semisopochnoi Island is the easternmost point of North America.

Barrow is the northernmost city in North America.

Sitka, in the panhandle, is nowhere near the world's most populated city. However, with the city limits covering approximately 4,710 square miles (7,580 square km), it is the world's largest city.

The 414 mile (667 km) Haul Road (a.k.a. Dalton Highway) that provides ground access to Deadhorse is North America's northernmost highway.

The North Slope School District covers approximately 93,000 square miles (149,665 square km), making it the world's largest school district.

Covering approximately 88,000 square miles (141,618 square km), the North Slope Borough is the world's largest municipality.


The Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska are two of the world's stormiest bodies of water.

The eastern Chugach Mountains receive more snow than any other place in the world.

A section of the Coast Mountains is believe to receive more annual rainfall than any other place on earth; this is not verified since there are no weather stations in this area.

The Aleutian Islands receive the lowest level of solar radiation in North America.


At about 1,100 miles (1,770 km), the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is the world's longest sled dog race.

At about 1,000 miles (1,609 km), the Yukon Quest is the world's second longest sled dog race; over half of this race is in Canada.

The Lake Hood seaplane base in Anchorage is the world's largest.

Anchorage International Airport is one of the world's busiest cargo airports.

The 2.5 mile long tunnel connecting Whittier to the Alaska highway system is the longest highway tunnel in North America.

The Alaska Railroad is the northernmost railroad in North America.

The world's largest collection of totem poles is found in Ketchikan.

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