Itkillik River

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Itkillik River
Country United States
State Alaska
Borough North Slope
Source Endicott Mountains
 - location Near Oolah Pass, Brooks Range
 - elevation 5,276 ft (1,608 m) [1]
 - coordinates 68°05′18″N 150°00′22″W / 68.08833°N 150.00611°W / 68.08833; -150.00611 [2]
Mouth Colville River
 - location 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Harrison Bay on the Beaufort Sea
 - elevation 7 ft (2 m) [2]
 - coordinates 70°09′00″N 150°56′20″W / 70.15000°N 150.93889°W / 70.15000; -150.93889Coordinates: 70°09′00″N 150°56′20″W / 70.15000°N 150.93889°W / 70.15000; -150.93889 [2]
Length 220 mi (354 km) [3]
Itkillik River is located in Alaska
Itkillik River
Location of the mouth of the Itkillik River in Alaska

The Itkillik River[pronunciation?] is a 220-mile (350 km) tributary of the Colville River in the North Slope Borough of the U.S. state of Alaska.[3] The river flows northeast then northwest out of the Endicott Mountains near Oohlah Pass to meet the larger stream about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Harrison Bay on the Beaufort Sea.[2] An Iñupiaq map, drawn in about 1900, identifies the river as It-kil-lik, meaning Indian.[3]

A melting permafrost formation exposed along the Itkillik River is the largest known yedoma in Alaska. The formation, deposited between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, contains remains of bison, muskoxen, mammoths, and other animals embedded in an ice cliff that is 100 feet (30 m) long and 1,200 feet (370 m) high. Odors emitted by the warming animal carcasses have led to the site's nickname, the Stinking Hills or Stinky Bluffs.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Source elevation derived from Google Earth search using GNIS source coordinates.
  2. ^ a b c d "Itkillik River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. January 1, 2000. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Orth, Donald J.; United States Geological Survey (1971) [1967]. Dictionary of Alaska Place Names: Geological Survey Professional Paper 567 (PDF). University of Alaska Fairbanks. United States Government Printing Office. p. 464. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ Rozell, Ned (May 26, 2011). "Alaska Science Forum: Far North Permafrost Cliff Is One of a Kind". Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks. Retrieved September 4, 2013.