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The Gulf of Alaska Facts

Geography | 7-14 yrs | Interactive

What is the Gulf of Alaska?

The Gulf of Alaska is famously known as the place where ‘two oceans meet but do not mix’. This is a strange natural phenomenon that has taken place in the Gulf of Alaska over centuries.

Map of the Gulf of Alaska

The Gulf of Alaska is a wide curve in the Pacific Ocean. This Gulf defines the south coast of Alaska. It stretches from the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak Island in the west to the Alexander Archipelago in the east. This is where the Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage are found.

Gulf of Alaska Marine Weather

The Gulf of Alaska is prone to heavy rains and snow storms that engulf southern and south central Alaska. There are strong surface currents and much colder Arctic air as well. This fact helps generate much of the seasonal rainfall along the coastline of British Columbia and in the states of Washington and Oregon.

The Waters of the Gulf

The Gulf of Alaska is famous for having two kinds of water – Natural blue water and heavy sediment – laden water from the side of the Glacier Bay. The cool blue water tries to merge with the dark slate-blue waters. Rivers of Alaska carry with them huge quantities of sediments. They empty themselves in the gulf that carries all the heavy clay and sediment.

The Gulf of Alaska is also said to have ocean water that meet underwater and not above. Horizontal stratification of water is very common but here we see a vertical stratification.

The Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem –

  • The entire shoreline of the Gulf is a combination of forests, mountains and numerous tidewater glaciers.
  • Many deep water corals are found in the Gulf of Alaska. It also has a highly productive marine system influenced by freshwater inputs and wind.
  • The Gulf of Alaska has a Cook Inlet which is an inlet in the Gulf stretching for 310 kilometres southwest to northeast and separates mainland Alaska from Kenai Peninsula.
  • The other feature is the Prince William Sound which is the sound off the Gulf of Alaska, on the south Coast of Alaska in the United States. A sound is a small body of water that comes in from the ocean.