Meaning of YUKON RIVER in English

one of the major rivers of North America, whose remotest headwaters originate in the McNeil River north of the border of the Yukon Territory and British Columbia, Can. It flows northwestward through the Yukon Territory and then arcs westward across the U.S. state of Alaska to enter the Bering Sea at Norton Sound. The Yukon River is 1,980 miles (3,190 km) long. It drains an area of about 328,000 square miles (850,000 square km) that is largely undeveloped despite the famous gold rush of the 1890s. The Yukon River became known to the world following the rich gold strikes in 1896 on one of its Canadian tributaries, the Klondike. When the spasm of gold-mining activity subsided during the years following World War I, the use of the river for the purpose of water transport also declined. More important than the McNeil River headwaters are those that flow from Atlin Lake and Tagish Lake in the vicinity of the British ColumbiaYukon Territory border. About 50 miles (80 km) downstream, the Yukon River formerly rushed through the rocky walls of narrow Miles Canyon and tumbled over rock ledges at Whitehorse Rapids. In the mid-20th century the river was dammed just south of Whitehorse for hydroelectric power, and a reservoir now covers the area of the rapids and fills the former Miles Canyon. The Yukon River then flows through a broad valley, and small islands dot its channel. At the village of Selkirk, the junction of the Pelly River swells the Yukon's volume considerably. The Yukon is then joined by the White River, which adds silt from the glaciers and mountains to the southwest, and the Stewart River, which flows out of a mining area to the east. The Klondike is a small tributary that joins the Yukon at the historic town of Dawson. The valley floor there is covered with sinuous, wormlike ridges of gravel deposited behind the gold dredges that worked their way several times through the valley gravels over a period of nearly a century. Downstream from Dawson the river valley narrows, and the plateau is broken by mountains that rise above 4,000 feet (1,200 m). After the Yukon crosses the Alaska boundary, the next large tributary is the Porcupine River, which joins the Yukon at Fort Yukon, Alaska. There the Yukon loops over the Arctic Circle and then flows southwestward for about 150 miles (240 km) across a broad, flat valley bounded at its western end by a narrow gorge. At the junction of the Tanana River, the main southern tributary in Alaska, the Yukon is less than 300 feet (90 m) above sea level. Upstream on the Tanana lies Fairbanks, the largest city in the Yukon River basin. About 175 miles (280 km) downstream from the Tanana confluence, the last major tributary, the Koyukuk, drains into the Yukon, which then turns southward and westward for several hundred miles. As the Yukon nears the Bering Sea it bends sharply northward to empty into Norton Sound of the Bering Sea. The river's delta is about 40 miles (64 km) across, swampy, and dotted with lakes. The Yukon River basin has remained sparsely populated, and, though the lure of mineral wealth has been the principal factor in the region's settlement, the Yukon basin's scenery, isolation, and sparse population are great attractions to tourists seeking to escape the more crowded areas of the continent. The Alaskan mountain ranges and the Mackenzie and Yukon river basins and their drainage networks. major North American river that flows through the central Yukon Territory of Canada and central Alaska. It measures 1,980 miles (3,190 kilometres) from the headwaters of the McNeil River (a tributary of the Nisutlin River). The Yukon discharges into the Bering Sea after flowing northwestward and then generally southwestward through a low plateau that slopes down across Alaska. The main east- and north-bank tributaries are the Teslin, Big Salmon, Pelly, Stewart, Klondike, Porcupine, and Koyukuk; the west- and south-bank tributaries are the Takhini, White, and Tanana. Its headwater tributaries drain an area of about 328,000 square miles (850,000 square kilometres) out of a surrounding semicircle of high mountains. This huge arealarger than Turkeywas occupied solely by North American Indians until the mid-19th century, when peoples of European descent (including explorers from the eastward-expanding Russian Empire) began to move into the region, first as fur traders and then in search of mineral wealth. The discovery of gold on the Klondike in 1896 precipitated an influx of settlement that created an international mythology of romantic frontier existence associated with the name Yukon. Additional reading Richard K. Mathews, The Yukon (1968), is an informative geography from the series Rivers of America. A brief study of hydrology is found in United States, Army, Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, Yukon and Kuskokwim River Basins, Alaska (1987). Yukon Data Book (biennial) is a reference periodical published by the Yukon Territory government. Informative illustrated descriptions of travel along the river include Keith Tryck, Yukon Passage: Rafting 2000 Miles to the Bering Sea (1980); and Stan Cohen, Yukon River Steamboats (1982). Allen A. Wright, Prelude to Bonanza (1976), describes the discovery and exploration of the territory. Other histories of the territory and the people include R.C. Coutts, Yukon: Places & Names (1980); Melody Webb, The Last Frontier (1985, reissued as Yukon: The Last Frontier, 1993); and Catharine McClellan, Part of the Land, Part of the Water: A History of the Yukon Indians (1987). Surveys of present-day conditions can be found in D.K. Redpath, Land Use Programs in Canada, Yukon Territory (1979). J. Lewis Robinson

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