Sand dunes stand out in Kobuk Valley, Alaska. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features two stretches of sand located within a boreal forest in northwestern Alaska known as the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes.
The dunes have crests that rise as high as 100 feet above the surrounding forests. According to NASA, the dunes look like they belong in the Saharan Desert more than in the Arctic.
The sand dunes were created during recent ice age cycles when massive sheets of ice plowed through mountains and other rocky surfaces. This left behind an abundance of sand and silt that collected along the banks of glacial streams. Sand dunes stand out in Kobuk Valley, Alaska
Gradually, much of the sand was transported by streams and winds and deposited in the ice-free Kobuk Valley, which is located between the Baird Mountains to the north and the Waring Mountains to the south. Southeast Alaska, colloquially referred to as the Alaska Panhandle or Alaskan Panhandle, is the southeastern portion of the U.S. state of Alaska, bordered to the east by the northern half of the Canadian province of British Columbia. The majority of Southeast Alaska’s area is part of the Tongass National Forest, the United States’ largest national forest. In many places, the international border runs along the crest of the Boundary Ranges of the Coast Mountains (see Alaska boundary dispute). The region is noted for its scenery and mild, rainy climate.
The image was captured on August 16, 2020 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory