Aleutian Islands and trench

Stretching 1,243 miles
(2,000 km) west from the western tip of the Alaskan Peninsula,
the Aleutian Islands form a rugged chain of volcanic
islands that stretch to the Komandorski Islands near the
Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. The islands form an island
arc system above the Pacific plate, which is subducted in the
Aleutian trench, a 5-mile (8-km) deep trough ocean-ward of
the Aleutian Islands. They are one of the most volcanically
active island chains in the world, typically hosting several
eruptions per year.
The Aleutians consist of several main island groups,
including the Fox Islands closest to the Alaskan mainland,
then moving out toward the Bering Sea and Kamchatka to
the Andreanof Islands, the Rat Islands, and the Near Islands.
The climate of the Aleutians is characterized by nearly constant
fog and heavy rains, but generally moderate temperatures.
Snow may fall in heavy quantities in the winter
months. The islands are almost treeless but have thick grasses,
bushes, and sedges, and are inhabited by deer and sheep.
The local Inuit population subsists on fishing and hunting.
The first westerner to discover the Aleutians was the Danish
explorer Vitus Bering, when employed by Russia in 1741.
Russian trappers and traders established settlements on the
islands and employed local Inuit to hunt otters, seals, and fox.
The Aleutians were purchased by the United States along with
the rest of Alaska from Russia in 1867. The only good harbor
in the Aleutian is at Dutch Harbor, used as a transshipping
port, a gold boomtown, and as a World War II naval base.
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