Portal:Alaska

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Alaska (/əˈlæskə/ (About this soundlisten); Aleut: Alax̂sxax̂; Inupiaq: Alaasikaq; Alutiiq: Alas'kaaq; Tlingit: Anáaski; Russian: Аляска, romanizedAlyaska) is a U.S. state in the northwest extremity of the United States West Coast, just across the Bering Strait from Asia. The Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon border the state to the east and southeast, its most extreme western part is Attu Island, and it has a maritime border with Russia (Chukotka Autonomous Okrug) to the west across the Bering Strait. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas—southern parts of the Arctic Ocean; the Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest. It is the largest U.S. state by area and the seventh largest subnational division in the world. In addition, it is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States; nevertheless, it is by far the most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel in North America: its population—estimated at 738,432 by the United States Census Bureau in 2015— is more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland. Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska's economy is dominated by the fishing, natural gas, and oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. United States armed forces bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy.

In a deal known as Seward's Folly, The United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for 7.2 million U.S. dollars at approximately two cents per acre ($4.74/km2). The area went through several administrative changes before becoming organized as a territory on May 11, 1912, it was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.

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Cannikin warhead being lowered into test shaft.

Amchitka (/æmˈɪtkə/; Aleut: Amchixtax̂) is a volcanic, tectonically unstable island in the Rat Islands group of the Aleutian Islands in southwest Alaska. It is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge; the island is about 68 kilometers (42 mi) long, and from 3 to 6 km (1.9 to 3.7 mi) wide. The area has a maritime climate, with many storms, and mostly overcast skies.

Amchitka was populated for more than 2,500 years by the Aleut people, but has had no permanent population since 1832; the island has been part of the United States since the Alaska Purchase of 1867. During World War II, it was used as an airfield by US forces in the Aleutian Islands Campaign.

Amchitka was selected by the United States Atomic Energy Commission to be the site for underground detonations of nuclear weapons. Three such tests were carried out: Long Shot, an 80-kiloton (330 TJ) blast in 1965; Milrow, a 1-megaton (4.2 PJ) blast in 1969; and Cannikin in 1971 – at 5 Mt (21 PJ), the largest underground test ever conducted by the United States. The tests were highly controversial, with environmental groups fearing that the Cannikin explosion, in particular, would cause severe earthquakes and tsunamis. Amchitka is no longer used for nuclear testing, although it is monitored for the leakage of radioactive materials.

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Blanket toss during Nalukataq in Barrow, Alaska

Photo credit: Floyd Davidson
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State facts

  • Total area: 663,268 mi2
    • Land: 571,936 mi2
    • Water: 91,332 mi2
  • Highest elevation: 20,310 ft (Denali)
  • Population 741,894 (2016 est)
  • Admission to the Union: January 3, 1959 (49th)

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