Mindat Logo

Utopia Creek Mine, Hughes District, Yukon-Koyukuk Borough, Alaska, USA

Latitude: 65°59'38"N
Longitude: 153°41'9"W
This site is the Utopia Creek, U.S. BLM MILS location 0020470011 (Oddenino and others, 1995; Interagency Minerals Coordinating Group, 2004).
Location: The Utopia Creek placer workings follow the channel of Utopia Creek for about 3 miles upstream from its junction with the Indian River. This site is located at the lower part of the placer tailings just east of the Utopia landing strip and approximately 1,000 feet southeast of the town of Utopia, in section 19, T. 7 N., R. 25 E., Kateel River Meridian. The workings are shown on the Melozitna D-2 quadrangle topographic map; they stretch across 6 sections in T. 7 N., R. 24 E. and R. 25 E. This site is location 3 of Cobb (1972). The location is accurate.
Geology: The rocks in the vicinity of of Utopia Creek area consist of Cretaceous andesite and basalt interlayered with chert, cherty tuff, conglomerate, and coquinoidal limestone (Patton and others, 1977). The Indian Mountain pluton crops out approximately 2 miles northwest of the placer workings, and podlike intrusions of fine-grained, pyritiferous, silicified, felsic rock occur along an east-northeast-trending fault about 1.5 miles south of the workings. The gradient of upper Utopia Creek is about 200 feet per mile; the gradient at the mouth is about 75 feet per mile. Unlike other gold-bearing streams in the area, Utopia Creek does not drain the Indian Mountain granodiorite intrusion (Miller and Ferrians, 1968). Bedrock in Utopia Creek is slightly metamorphosed andesite cut by fine-grained felsic rock (Miller and Ferrians, 1968). Boulders of massive barite are in the tailings of an abandoned placer mine near the head of Utopia Creek, and some of those boulders contain tetrahedrite, sphalerite, and galena (Miller and Ferrians, 1968). That mineralization is described in record MZ005. Gold was discovered in Utopia Creek in about 1906 (Cobb, 1975; Eberlein and others, 1977) and mining was reported as early as 1915. J.Q. Hackett, R.B. Norris, and C.B. Frank prospected and did a little mining on Utopia Creek in 1929 (Wimmler, 1929). L. McGee and a crew of 12 men began prospecting on Utopia Creek in 1936 (Smith, 1938). Overburden was stripped and a bedrock drain dug in 1937 by about a 20-man crew employed by McGee (Smith, 1939 [B 910A]). Large-scale mining was started in 1938 (Smith, 1939 [B 917-A]). McGee ran the operation and for several years employed approximately 30 men. At the time, Utopia Creek was the largest placer operation in the district (Smith, 1941). In 1939, McGee divided the property into two segments. The upstream section was mined by hydraulic methods when water was available. The paystreak in that portion of the creek was on the south side of the drainage. Heavy machinery and draglines were used on the downstream portion, where gravels were as much as 25 feet thick (Smith, 1941). Large-scale mining continued until 1952, when interest apparently waned (Cobb, 1973). U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps of the Melozitna quadrangle show workings along approximately 3.5 miles of Utopia Creek; the upper tailings continuing along a draw on the south side of the creek. The remains of a 40-foot long washing plant lie in a heavily vegetated area along the lower creek (Kurtak and others, 2002). The configuration of the tailings piles indicates that mining concentrated on deposits in the modern stream channel. The average grade of the placer, which started at 0.032 ounce of gold per cubic yard, was down to 0.003 ounce per cubic yard by the last year of production (Kurtak and others, 2002). At least 8,850 ounces of gold were mined on Utopia Creek (Cobb and Miller, 1981). The fineness of a placer gold sample from Utopia Creek was 849 (Metz and Hawkins, 1981).
Workings: Gold was discovered in Utopia Creek around 1906 (Cobb, 1975; Eberlein and others, 1977) and mining was reported as early as 1915. J.Q. Hackett, R.B. Norris, and C.B. Frank prospected and did a little mining on Utopia Creek in 1929 (Wimmler, 1929). L. McGee and a crew of 12 men began prospecting on Utopia Creek in 1936 (Smith, 1938). Overburden was stripped and a bedrock drain dug in 1937 by about a 20-man crew employed by McGee (Smith, 1939 [B 910A]). Large-scale mining was started in 1938 (Smith, 1939 [B 917-A]). McGee ran the operation and for several years employed approximately 30 men. At the time, Utopia Creek was the largest placer operation in the district (Smith, 1941). In 1939, McGee divided the property into two segments. The upstream section was mined by hydraulic methods when water was available. The paystreak in that portion of the creek was on the south side of the drainage. Heavy machinery and draglines were used on the downstream portion, where gravels were as much as 25 feet thick (Smith, 1941). Large-scale mining continued until 1952, when interest apparently waned (Cobb, 1973). U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps of the Melozitna quadrangle show workings along approximately 3.5 miles of Utopia Creek, with the upper tailings continuing along a draw on the south side of the creek. The remains of a 40-foot long placer wash plant lie in a heavily vegetated area along the lower creek (Kurtak and others, 2002). The configuration of the tailings piles indicates that mining concentrated on deposits in the modern stream channel. The average grade of the placer, which started at 0.032 ounce of gold per cubic yard, was down to 0.003 ounce per cubic yard by the last year of production (Kurtak and others, 2002).
Age: Quaternary.
Production: Utopia Creek was probably the largest gold producer in the Koyukuk district (Smith, 1941) but there is no detailed record of production. Cobb and Miller (1981) estimate that about 8,850 ounces of gold were mined on Utopia Creek. However, the duration and extent of the mine workings suggest the recovery of substantially more gold. The fineness of a placer gold sample from Utopia Creek was 849 (Metz and Hawkins, 1981).

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

References

Cobb, E.H., 1972, Metallic mineral resources map of the Melozitna quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-396, 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000. Cobb, E.H., 1973, Placer deposits of Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1374, 213 p. Cobb, E.H., 1975, Summary of references to mineral occurrences (other than mineral fuels and construction materials) in five quadrangles in west central Alaska (Hughes, Kotzebue, Melozitna, Selawik, Shungnak): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 75-627, 58 p. Cobb, E.H., and Miller, T.P., 1981, Summaries of data on and lists of references to metallic and selected nonmetallic mineral occurrences in the Hughes, Kotzebue, Melozitna, Selawik and Shungnak quadrangles, west-central Alaska; Supplement to Open-File Report 75-627; Part B, Lists of references to January 1, 1981: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 81-847-B, 14 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. Interagency Minerals Coordinating Group, 2004, Alaska Mineral Locations Database [MAS (Minerals Availability System) and MILS (Mineral Industry Location System)], http://imcg.wr.usgs.gov/dem.html [Link dead. Jun 2011] (select Melozitna quadrangle). Kurtak, J.M., Klieforth, R.F., Clark, J.M., and Maclean, E.A., 2002, Mineral investigations in the Koyukuk mining district, northern Alaska: Final Report: U.S. Bureau of Land Management Technical Report 50, v. 1 and 2, 845 p. Metz, P.A., and Hawkins, D.B., 1981, A summary of gold fineness values from Alaska placer deposits: University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Mineral Industry Research Laboratory Report No. 45, 56 p. Miller, T.P., and Ferrians, O.J., Jr., 1968, Suggested areas for prospecting in the central Koyukuk River region, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 570, 12 p. Oddenino, C.L., Coppa, L.V., Dillon, J., and Read, R, 1995, MAS/MILS (Minerals Availability System/Minerals Industry Location System): U.S. Bureau of Mines Special Publication 12-95, 1 CD-ROM. Patton, W.W., Jr., Miller, T.P., Chapman, R.M., and Yeend, W., 1977, Geologic map of the Melozitna quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 77-147, 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000. Smith, P.S., 1938, Mineral industry of Alaska in 1936: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 897-A, p. 1-107. Smith, P.S., 1939, Mineral industry of Alaska in 1937: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 910-A, p. 1-113. Smith, P.S., 1939, Mineral industry of Alaska in 1938: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 917-A, p. 1-113. Smith, P.S., 1941, Mineral industry of Alaska in 1939: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 926-A, p. 1-106. Wimmler, N.L., 1929, Placer mining in Alaska in 1929: Alaska Territorial Department of Mines Miscellaneous Report 195-12, 318 p.

Mineral List

Gold


1 entry listed. 1 valid mineral.

The above list contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.
This page is currently not sponsored. To sponsor this page click here.


Mineral and/or Locality  
Search Google  
Copyright © Jolyon Ralph and Ida Chau 1993-2014. Site Map. Locality, mineral & photograph data are the copyright of the individuals who submitted them. Site hosted & developed by Jolyon Ralph. Mindat.org is an online information resource dedicated to providing free mineralogical information to all. Mindat relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters. Mindat does not offer minerals for sale. If you would like to add information to improve the quality of our database, then click here to register.
Current server date and time: October 24, 2014 20:32:08 Page generated: June 27, 2011 13:00:20
Mineral and Locality Search
Mineral:
and/or Locality:
Options
Fade toolbar when not in focusFix toolbar to bottom of page
Hide Social Media Links
Slideshow frame delay seconds