Alaska is the largest state of the United States by area; it is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait. Approximately half of Alaska's 698,473 residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. As of 2009, Alaska remains the least densely populated state of the U.S. Alaska has a longer coastline than all the other U.S. states combined. With its myriad islands, it has almost 34,000 miles (54,720 km) of tidal shoreline. The Aleutian Islands chain extends west from the southern tip of the Alaska Peninsula. Many active volcanoes are found in the Aleutians. One of the world's largest tides occurs in Turnagain Arm, just south of Anchorage – tidal differences can be more than 35 feet (10.7 m). The state has more than three million lakes and marshlands and wetland permafrost cover 188,320 square miles (487,747 km2) (mostly in northern, western and southwest flatlands), while glacier ice covers some 16,000 square miles (41,440 km2) of land and 1,200 square miles (3,110 km2) of tidal zone. With over 100,000 glaciers, Alaska is home to half of the world's glaciers.
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