Gulf of Alaska

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Gulf of Alaska
Land of the Frontier
Gulf of Alaska
LocationSouth shore of Alaska
Coordinates57°N 144°W / 57°N 144°W / 57; -144Coordinates: 57°N 144°W / 57°N 144°W / 57; -144
Part ofNorth Pacific Ocean
River sourcesSusitna River
Basin countriesUnited States, Canada
IslandsKodiak Archipelago, Montague Island, Alexander Archipelago
SettlementsAnchorage, Juneau
A view of the Gulf of Alaska from space. Notice the swirling sediment in the waters.

The Gulf of Alaska (French: Golfe d'Alaska) is an arm of the Pacific Ocean defined by the curve of the southern coast of Alaska, stretching from the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak Island in the west to the Alexander Archipelago in the east, where Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage are found.

The Gulf shoreline is a rugged combination of forest, mountain and a number of tidewater glaciers. Alaska's largest glaciers, the Malaspina Glacier and Bering Glacier, spill out onto the coastal line along the Gulf of Alaska. The coast is heavily indented with Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound, the two largest connected bodies of water. It includes Yakutat Bay and Cross Sound. Lituya Bay is the site of the largest recorded tsunami in history. It serves as a sheltered anchorage for fishing boats.


The Gulf of Alaska is considered a Class I, productive ecosystem with more than 300 grams of carbon per square meter per year[1] based on SeaWiFS data.

Deep water corals can be found in the Gulf of Alaska. Primnoa pacifica has contributed to the location being labeled as Habitat Areas of Particular Concern.[2] P. pacifica is a deep water coral typically found between 150 metres (490 ft) and 900 metres (3,000 ft) here.[3]


The Gulf is a great generator of storms. In addition to dumping vast quantities of snow and ice on southern Alaska, resulting in some of the largest concentrations south of the Arctic Circle, many of the storms move south along the coasts of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and as far south as Southern California (primarily during El Niño events). Much of the seasonal rainfall and snowfall in the Pacific Northwest and Southwestern United States comes from the Gulf of Alaska.


The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Gulf of Alaska as follows:[4]

On the North. The coast of Alaska.

On the South. A line drawn from Cape Spencer, the Northern limit of the Coastal Waters of Southeast Alaska and British Columbia to Kabuch Point, the Southeast limit of the Bering Sea, in such a way that all the adjacent islands are included in the Gulf of Alaska.

The US Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System database defines the Gulf of Alaska as bounded on the north by the coast of Alaska and on the south by a line running from the south end of Kodiak Island on the west to Dixon Entrance on the east.[5]


Admiralty Island

Adronica Island

Afognak Island

Aghiyuk Island

Aiaktalik Island

Akun Island

Akutan Island

Aleutika Island

Amaknak Island

Annette Island

Anyaka Island

Ariadne Island

Augustine Island

Avatanak Island

Baker Island

Ban Island

Baranof Island

Beautiful Isle

Bell Island

Benjamin Island

Biorka Island

Bligh Island

Chat Island

Chenega Island

Chichagof Island

Chisik Island

Chiswell Island(s)

Chowiet Island

Coronation Island

Cronin Island

Culross Island

Dall Island

Deer Island

Doggie Island

Dolgoi Island

Douglas Island

Duke Island

East Chugach Island

Egg Island

Egg Island(s)

Eldred Rock

Eleanor Island

Elizabeth Island

Erlington Island

Esther Island

Etolin Island

Fish Island

Fitzgerald Island

Forrester Island

Goloi Island

Granite Island

Gravina Island

Green Island

Gregson Island

Gull Island

Haenke Island

Harbor Island

Hawkins Island

Heceta Island

Herring Island(s)

Hesketh Island

Hinchinbrook Island

Kalgin Island

Kanak Island

Karpa Island

Kataguni Island

Kayak Island

Khantaak Island

Knight Island

Kodiak Island

Korovin Island

Kosciusko Island

Kriwoi Island

Kruzof Island

Kruzof Island

Kuiu Island

Kupreanof Island

Latouche Island

Lemesurier Island

Lincoln Island

Lone Island

Long Island

Lulu Island

Lynn Brothers

Ma Relle Island(s)

Mab Island

Marmot Island

Mitkof Island

Montague Island

Nakchamik Island

Naked Island

Near Island

Noyes Island

Nuka Island

Osier Island

Otmeloi Island

Outer Island

Partofshikof Island

Pearl Island

Perry Island

Pleasent Island

Popof Island

Powder Island

Prince of Wales Island

Rabbit Island

Ragged Island

Raspberry Island

Revillagigedo Island

Rootok Island

Rugged Island

San Fernando Island

San Juan Island

Sebree Island

Sentinel Island

Shelter Island

Shikosi Island

Shuyak Island

Sinith Island(s)

Sitkalidak Island

Sitkinak Island

Spruce Island

Strawberry Island

Suemez Island

Sullivan Island

Sutwik Island

Talsani Island

Tanker Island

Tigalda Island

Tugidak Island

Twoheaded Island

Uganik Island

Unalaska Island

Unalga Island

Unavikshak Island

Unga Island

Warren Island

Whale Island

Wingham Island

Wooded Island(s)

Woronkofski Island

Wrangell Island

Yakobi Island

Yukon Island

Zarembo Island


  1. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2011). "Gulf of Alaska. Topic ed. P.Saundry. Ed.-in-chief C.J.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth". National Council for Science and the Environment. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  2. ^ Stone Robert P; Shotwell S Kalei. (2007). "State of deep coral ecosystems in the Alaska Region: Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands" (PDF). In: Lumsden SE et Al., Eds. The State of Deep Coral Ecosystems of the United States. NOAA Technical Memorandum CRCP-3. Silver Spring, MD: 65–108. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  3. ^ Waller, RG; Stone, RP; Mondragon, J; Clark, CE (2011). "Reproduction of Red Tree Corals in the Southeastern Alaskan Fjords: Implications for Conservation and Population Turnover". In: Pollock NW, Ed. Diving for Science 2011. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 30th Symposium. Dauphin Island, AL: AAUS; 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  4. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Gulf of Alaska

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