Alaska Now

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The largest national park in the United States is Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve — four times the size of Yellowstone. Also, the country’s two largest national forests are the state’s Tongass National Forest at 17 million acres, followed by the Chugach National Forest, which includes part of the Anchorage Bowl.

Equally stunning are Alaska’s powerful, sometimes fearsome, natural phenomena — volcanoes. Alaska possesses more than 10 percent of the world’s identified volcanoes, and three-fourths of North America’s volcanic peaks. The greatest concentration of volcanic activity is in the Aleutian chain. Earthquakes also unleash most of their tremendous energy in the Aleutian arc. The strongest quake to hit Alaska was on March 27, 1964. It measured 9.2 on the Richter scale and released twice the energy of the San Francisco quake of 1906. A more benevolent phenomenon, best observed during winter darkness, is the “northern lights” or aurora borealis, when eerie but spectacularly beautiful sheets of color streak across the sky.


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