Forces of Nature

pieces of glacial ice along a river with mountains in the background
Glaciers are a powerful force in shaping the landscape of Denali National Park and Preserve. NPS Photo
The places that inspire awe in Alaska often include the incredible natural features this state contains. Alaska is home to some of the world's largest icefields, most active volcanic areas, the highest peak in North America, and more. The processes that shaped the mountain ranges and landscapes of Alaska are still at work today, and you can experience the changing landscape in many of our parks as glaciers retreat and rivers shift course.

Many of these iconic natural places are designated as National Natural Landmarks, or NNLs. Learn more about the most noteworthy and extraordinary stories, people, and places demonstrating the forces of nature in Alaska below, or visit the Alaska NNL page and Alaska Nature & Science website for more information.
a person walks through a rocky scree field in front of a small valley glacier

Active Geology & Glaciers

Permafrost, volcanoes, glaciers, and more. Alaska is full of ever-changing landscapes, shaped by the mighty forces of nature.

a river runs through tundra in the fall in an aerial shot

High-latitude Climate Change

Climate change affects the arctic differently. Read about how warming is affecting Alaska's parks, and how we are facing the challenges.

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