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Interior Alaska has historically been considered the onshore geographic area of Alaska between the Brooks Range and the Seward Peninsula on the north and west respectively, and the Alaska Range on the south (Fig. 1). It is an area of more than 600,000 km2 that covers the central one-third of Alaska and has been variously referred to as the “intermontane plateaus” (Wahrhaftig, this volume) and the “central plateaus” (Raisz, 1948). The Yukon River, the largest river in Alaska, approximately bisects the province. The topography of the region is generally subdued. Broad alluviated lowland areas are underlain by Cenozoic nonmarine sedimentary rocks. Extensive areas in the western and southwestern parts of the province are characterized by ridge and valley topography cut in complexly deformed Jurassic and Cretaceous flysch rocks. The Brooks Range and the Alaska Range were extensively glaciated during the Pleistocene; however, only a few very small glaciers were present in the higher mountains of the interior province. Muskeg and tundra at the lower elevations, willow and alder brush in the stream valleys, and spruce and birch forests up to the tree line, at about 750 to 900 m elevation, form a thick cover of vegetation so that bedrock exposures are generally limited to ridge tops above the tree line and river-cut bank exposures.

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