Valdez

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Valdez

(văldēz`), city (1990 pop. 4,068), Valdez-Chitina-Whittier census div., S Alaska, at the head of Valdez Arm inside Prince William SoundPrince William Sound,
large, irregular, islanded inlet of the Gulf of Alaska, S Alaska, E of the Kenai peninsula. It has many bays and good harbors; the large Columbia Glacier flows into Columbia Bay, in the N central portion.
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; inc. 1901. It has tourist and fishing industries, as well as salmon spawning grounds. The city's excellent, nearly landlocked ice-free harbor was explored and named by the Spaniards in 1790. Valdez was established (1898) as a debarkation point for those seeking a route to the Yukon gold fields that would obviate the necessity of paying duty to Canada. Following a devastating earthquake and tidal wave in 1964, the city was rebuilt at a location 5 mi (8 km) west of the old site. Valdez is the southern terminus of the trans-Alaskan oil pipeline, built in the 1970s, that originates in Prudhoe BayPrudhoe Bay,
inlet of the Beaufort Sea and Arctic Ocean, N Alaska, in the Alaska North Slope region, east of the Colville River delta. In 1968 one of the largest oil reserves in North America was discovered in Prudhoe Bay.
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. Its port facilities were greatly enlarged in the mid-1970s. On Mar. 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez hit a reef near Valdez and spilled 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound. Clean-up efforts ensued, but much wildlife was killed or endangered as a result of the environmental disaster.