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Butte Creek; Twentymile Cr. Prospect, Fairbanks District, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, USA

Latitude: 64°43'51"N
Longitude: 145°42'54"W
Location: Butte Creek drains southwest into the Salcha River. The creek is about 12 miles long and has several tributaries with associated placers. This includes Twentymile Creek (not identified on existing maps). The Alaska Division of Mining Kardex file system reports placer mining on Butte Creek south of VABM The Butte. Several collapsed drift-mining shafts and surface tailings are situated at the confluence of several tributaries in the headwaters of Butte Creek . The approximate center of the mining activity on the creek is in NW1/4NE1/4 section 22, T. 2 S., R. 10 E., of the Fairbanks Meridian. There are references to additional placer mining along Butte Creek, but it is unclear where. Several trails and a short unimproved landing strip provide access to the Butte Creek drainage. It is locality 15 of Cobb and Eberlein (1980), who summarized relevant references under the name 'Butte Creek'.
Geology: The bedrock in the region comprises schist, gneiss, some granite, and minor amounts of serpentinite and limestone. The schist is composed of quartz, feldspar, and mica, with localized garnetiferous and marble zones. The gneiss is coarse to fine grained with various amounts of quartz, feldspar, hornblende, and biotite. The schist and gneiss probably have protoliths of Precambrian and Paleozoic sedimentary and igneous rocks. The intrusive bodies in the area range in composition from granodiorite to quartz monzonite, and have Cretaceous to Tertiary K-Ar ages (Weber and others, 1978). Butte Creek is larger than several nearby streams and flows in a broad valley that narrows to steep gulches towards the headwaters. The gravels average 18 to 20 feet in thickness and consists of a variety of schist, gneiss, granite, and vein quartz (Prindle, 1906; B 284). Brooks (1908) reported the fineness of the gold to be higher than that found in the Richardson District. Placer gold was first discovered on Butte Creek in 1905. Prospecting initially occurred on Butte Creek and soon expanded to nearby Caribou Creek (BD009), No Grub Creek (BD028), Pasco Creek (BD031), and Gold Run Creek (BD016) and associated tributaries. As of late 1905, three holes had been sunk 24 to 26 feet to bedrock on Butte Creek. Live water and thawed ground presented the biggest obstacles during prospecting (Prindle, 1906; B 284). By 1910, most of the mining activity in the area was focused on Caribou Creek. Exploration to determine the lode source for the placer gold is currently (1998) being conducted in the Butte Creek drainage (R. Van Nieuwenhuyse, oral communication, 1998). Historically, Butte Creek has been grouped with the mines and prospects of the Richardson district. From 1905 through 1921, production from the Richardson district was approximately 95,000 ounces of gold and 24,000 ounces of silver (Bundtzen and Reger, 1977). Since 1980, the district has produced approximately 10,000 additional ounces of gold from intermittent mining (Olson and others, 1985). Individual gold production for Butte Creek has not been reported separately. The creek has been heavily prospected, but no pay streak was detected during early work (Brooks, 1906).
Workings: Placer gold was first discovered on Butte Creek in 1905. Prospecting initially occurred on Butte Creek and expanded to nearby Caribou Creek, No Grub Creek, and Gold Run Creek and associated tributaries. As of late 1905, three holes had been sunk 24 to 26 feet to bedrock on Butte Creek. Water and thawed ground presented the biggest obstacles during prospecting (Prindle, 1906; B 284). By 1910, most of the mining activity in the area was focused on Caribou Creek. Exploration to determine the lode source for the placer gold is currently (1998) being conducted in the Butte Creek drainage (R. Van Nieuwenhuyse, oral communication, 1998).
Age: Quaternary
Production: Historically, Butte Creek has been grouped with the mines and prospects of the Richardson area. From 1905 through 1921, production in the Richardson area was approximately 95,000 ounces of gold and 24,000 ounces of silver (Bundtzen and Reger, 1977). Individual gold production for Butte Creek has not been reported separately. The creek has been heavily prospected, but no pay streak was detected during early work (Brooks, 1906).

Commodities (Major) - Au
Development Status: Yes; small
Deposit Model: Placer Au (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a)

Mineral List

Gold


1 entry listed. 1 valid mineral.

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References

Brooks, A.H., 1906, The mining industry in 1905: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 284, p. 4-9. Brooks, A.H., 1908, The mining industry in 1907: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 345-A, p. 30-53. Bundtzen, T.K., and Reger, R.D., 1977, The Richardson lineament--A structural control for gold deposits in the Richardson mining district, Alaska, in Short notes on Alasakan Geology, 1977: Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys Geologic Report 55, p. 29-34. Cobb, E.H., 1977, Placer deposit map of central Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 77-168-B, 64 p., 1 map, scale 1:1,000,000. Cobb, E.H., and Eberlein, G.D., 1980, Summaries of data on and lists of references to metallic and selected nonmetallic mineral deposits in the Big Delta and Tanacross quadrangles, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 80-1086, 77 p. Eberlein, G.D., Chapman, R.M., Foster, H.L., and Gassaway, J.S., 1977, Map and table describing known metalliferous and selected nonmetalliferous mineral deposits in central Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 77-168-D, 132 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:1,000,000. Ellsworth, C.E., 1910, Placer mining in the Yukon-Tanana region: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 442-F, p. 230-245. Ellsworth, C.E., and Parker, G.L., 1911, Placer mining in the Yukon-Tanana region: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 480-F, p. 173-217. Menzie, W.D., and Foster, H.L., 1979, Metalliferous and selected nonmetalliferous mineral resource potential in the Big Delta quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 78-529-D, 61 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000. Prindle, L.M., 1906, Yukon placer fields: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 284, p. 109-127. Prindle, L.M., 1913, A geologic reconnaissance of the Fairbanks quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 525, 200 p. Weber, F.R., Foster, H.L., Keith, T.E.C., Dusel-Bacon, Cynthia, 1978, Preliminary geologic map of the Big Delta quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 78-529-A, 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000.

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