The Geography of Valdez

Shaped by Plate Techtonics and Carved by Glaciers
Introduction to

Valdez Geography

Valdez is located in the Northeast corner of Prince William Sound at the end of a road, 120 miles away from the next sizeable city. Valdez sits along a fjord, where the steep mountain sides often extending directly down to the ocean. Much of the town is developed on small areas of flatland that was deposited by glaciers and more recently by the streams that drain from them deposting rock and gravel down along Port Valdez.

The currents of the Pacific brings warmer waters up from Japan to the Gulf of Alaska, running into Prince William Sounds where cold glacier melt water meets the warmer pacific waters. The air in Valdez is often clean and fresh, unless you're on Dayville Rd a couple weeks after the salmon have finished spawning. (In that case hold your nose and watch for bears.) Valdez can accumulate more than 500 inches of snow, though in recent years it has been recieving around 250 inches at sea level. Summer is usually overcast with around 60 percent of summer days experiencing some sort of parciptation. In 2019 there was recorded parcipitation on about 30 percent of the days.

The town is populated by nearly 4,000 year round residents and can recieve over 100,000 visitors over summer.

Geography in Valdez, Alaska
Valdez Gold

The gold lodes occur chiefly in the sedimentary beds "of the Valdez group on the north side of the sound. They were introduced by gold and quartz-bearing solutions that with rare exceptions appear not to have met conditions favorable for the deposition of gold quartz lodes within the areas of greenstone.

The gold lodes are widely distributed but may be referred to several local areas, as the vicinity of Valdez Glacier, Mineral Creek, and the adjacent shore of Valdez Bay; the Shoup Bay area, including the Cliff mine; and the Port Wells district. The Cliff mine on Port Valdez has thus far been the most productive of the gold lodes. Other gold-producing mines were the Ramsay-Rutherford mine on the east side of Valdez Glacier and the Granite mine on the west side of Port Wells, to which might be added a number of smaller mines that have contributed to the total gold production of the region.