The southern coast of Alaska stretches over six hundred miles, its sweeping crescent studded with glaciers and beaches that connect temperate rainforest to frozen islands. While its soaring beauty attracts thousands of visitors a year, it also hides a deadly energy, due to its volcanoes and its location on one of the most active earthquake zones on the planet. Salmon and bears are some of the more famous residents of this fascinating area, but the coast is home to an astonishing diversity of marine and terrestrial creatures.
A Coast Beyond Compare introduces the general reader to coastal geology and the ecology of this majestic coastline. It starts with the basic physical processes that shaped this region and shows how earthquakes, waves, and tsunamis all had a role in creating the pres- ent landscape. It then moves through the many mammals, birds, fish, kelp, and grasses that live on and just off the coast. The guide then turns to the eleven distinct ecologies that form the state’s southern border, pointing out each area’s unique characteristics. It also includes suggestions of where to visit, so that residents and tourists alike can experience these unique ecosystems for themselves.
Miles O. Hayes is chairman of the board of Research Planning Inc. (RPI), a science technology company located in Columbia, South Carolina. He has spent fifty years as a coastal geomorphologist and sedimentologist. Jacqueline Michel is president of RPI and is an internationally recognized expert in oil and hazardous materials spill response and assessment.