Cook Inlet

Overhead view

This above image shows the upper Cook Inlet region of South-Central Alaska. Cook Inlet is the broad body of water on the right side of the scene. It branches into Turnagain Arm, the bulbous body of water in the center of the scene and Knick Arm in the lower left corner. These waters were explored in the 18th Century by Captain James Cook.

At the top (left) of the scene are the Chugach Mountains. On the south side of Cook Inlet in the upper part of the scene is the upper Kenai Peninsula and part of the Kenai National Wildlife Reserve. The meandering Susitna River is in the lower right part of the scene.

The generally dark signature of the water suggests the winds are low or calm, otherwise stronger backscatter might be expected from a wind-roughened water surface. These waters are quite shallow (30-50 metres maximum) and subject to strong tidal currents.   Other areas of grey tone in Knik
Arm and Turnagain Arm might be surface manifestations of the shallow bottom topography of shoals and bars.

The shores of Turnagain Arm in particular have a bright signature corresponding to extensive mudflats. The large area of exposed mudflats suggests that this scene was obtained at low tide.

The City of Anchorage is located just left of center of the scene, between Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm. Street patterns, highways and built-up areas are clearly visible. Anchorage International Airport is recognized by the distinctive dark T-shape of its twin runways. The military airfield and installations at Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson (U. S. Army) are the large area of dark tone on the north side of Anchorage, NE of the International Airport.

North of Anchorage across Knik Arm field patterns are visible. This is the site of the Point Mackenzie agricultural project, like the Delta Barley Project (data file 28245200), a less than successful attempt to foster agriculture and an agricultural exports trade in Alaska.

The upper Kenai Peninsula is dotted with lakes - the Swanson River Lakes. The Swanson River region is the location of a number of oil and natural gas fields, including the Birch Hill, Beaver Creek and   credited with being the site of the birth of the modern Alaska petroleum industry.

Oil and gas production also occurs in Cook Inlet itself. Two offshore production platforms are visible as small, bright dots near the right edge of the scene.


The information on this page was last updated December 1, 1999