At Over 400 Million-Years-Old, Some Of The Oldest Foothills In The World Are Found In Alaska
Alaska’s geography is absolutely stunning. The entire state represents hundreds of different ecological regions, and the arctic foothills in the northernmost part of the state is one of them. At over 400 million-years-old, these beautiful areas of rolling tundra are mesmerizing, and is one of the most geologically complex areas in the state.
The arctic foothills are located north of the northernmost mountain range, the Brooks Range.
They lower into the coastal plains that cover areas like Wainwright, Utqiagvik, and Prudhoe Bay. The hills are northward sloping, reaching towards the Arctic Ocean.
The arctic foothills are comprised of low, east-to-west ridges that rise up from the coastal plains.
The rolling plateaus are usually covered with tundra, and you can sometimes find an irregular, isolated hill standing alone. Underneath the tundra you will find the permafrost that is a regular feature in the Arctic Circle.
The Arctic Foothills are relatively small, especially compared with their Brooks Range backdrop.
By the coastal plains in the north, you'll find these rolling hills reach a height of about 600 feet. In the southern areas, by the Brooks Range, they can tower all the way to 3,600 feet.
The youngest rocks in the foothills are 66 to 145 million-years-old from the Cretaceous period.
The second youngest hail from the Paleozoic era, and are an impressive 252 to 541 million-years-old. You can also find sediment dating from 359 to 419 million-years-old, originating from the Devonian era. These sediments are found close to the Brooks Range in the south.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a small amount of these foothills.
4.6% of Alaska's arctic foothills are covered by this refuge. The foothills in this area have a larger range of ecological diversity, as the distance from the Brooks Range to the ocean is much shorter than other areas in the state.
Due to the amazing amount of biological diversity in such a small area, these lands are protected within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge borders.
You can find a huge amount of animal population, including many birds and mammals that Alaska are famous for. This is where you will find large herds of caribou, muskoxen, and even some Dall sheep.
This area is rarely visited by people, but comprises an impressive area of the northern part of our state.
Teeming with life, it's also a history book filled with markers from the Earth's past. Alaska is a beautiful and rich state, with a truly unbelievable amount of ecological and biological diversity to learn about!
Did you know the arctic foothills were so old? What do you think about that? Have you ever visited the area? Let us know in the comments below!
If you’re looking to explore the area, base yourself out of Utqiagvik and read more about
The Alaska Beach That’s Unlike Any Other In The World!
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