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It’s Official: Mount McKinley Renamed Mount Denali

31 Aug 2015, 3:18 pm


Pop quiz: what is the tallest mountain in the United States?

If you had answered Mount McKinley last Thursday, you would’ve been correct. But as of Friday, the 20,237 foot peak is officially now known as Mount Denali after U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell signed a declaration announcing the name change, a move that comes in conjunction with President Barack Obama’s Alaska visit this week.

Originally named after 25th American president William McKinley, Alaskans have long been protesting the name in the hope of a stronger nod to the state’s indigenous roots. McKinley, originally from Ohio, never set foot on Alaska, and the mountain was named just before the Civil War veteran became president in 1897. However, Ohio Congressman John Boehner issued a statement on the name change, expressing “disappointment in this decision”.

The word Denali, according to the Alaska Daily News, means “high” or “tall” in Alaska’s Koyukon Athabascan language.

Mount Denali, which is also North America’s tallest peak, was formed by the subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the North American plate, a process that has also led to several large earthquakes in southern Alaska, including a 9.2 in 1964, the world’s second-largest since 1900. Temperatures on the top of the bitterly cold mountain can fall as low as -75° Fahrenheit and wind chills have dropped below -100°.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi – Photo via

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