Willow Creek Mine, Kantishna District, Denali Borough, Alaska, USA
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Location: Willow Creek is one of the headwater tributaries of Moose Creek. It joins Spruce Creek near the center of section 16, T. 16 S., R. 16 W., Fairbanks Meridian, to form Moose Creek. Willow Creek is about 2 1/2 miles long; it heads into the low divide at the head of Myrtle Creek. For this record, the location of the Willow Creek placer mine is about on the unpatented Willow No. 5 Above Discovery claim, in the NE1/4 NE1/4 section 9, T. 16 S., R. 16 W., Fairbanks Meridian. Willow Creek is placer resource block W-1 of Thornsberry, McKee, and Salisbury (1984, fig. K-3).
Geology: The placer-mined part of Willow Creek has a gradient of about 200 feet per mile. The creek heads into a swampy divide at the head of Myrtle Creek, which rises below Spruce Peak. The physiography suggests that Myrtle Creek may have captured upper Willow Creek, and that Willow Creek may once have headed into Spruce Creek rocks. The present course of Willow Creek is in Birch Creek Schist, but if Myrtle Creek captured Willow Creek, an ancestral Willow Creek could have drained rocks of the Spruce Creek sequence (Hawley and Associates, 1978; Bundtzen, 1981; Thornsberry, McKee, and Salisbury, 1984, figs. K-2 and K-3). Claims were staked on Willow Creek early in the 1900s (Heiner and Porter, 1972: KX 66-64). Three placer gold claims were located in 1964 (KX 66-100), and most of the creek was staked in 1966 by Northwest Exploration (KX 66-115). The Willow Creek citation for 1966 (Heiner and Porter, 1972) notes that placer claims were located for antimony; suggesting that stibnite occurs in the alluvial gravels. One lode gold claim was located in lower Willow Creek in 1961 (Heiner and Porter, 1972: KX 66-100). There is a resource of about 500,000 cubic yards of low-grade alluvium in and adjacent to modern Willow Creek (Levell, 1984, v. 2). Levell's sampling of Willow Creek in 1983 showed insignificant gold content.
Workings: Gold apparently was discovered in Willow Creek in the early 1900s, when the creek was placer mined on a limited scale (Heiner and Porter, 1972: KX 66-64). There was renewed claim activity in the 1960s, but the deposit apparently was not rich enough to support much mining.
Production: Probably less than 100 ounces of placer gold since 1905.
Reserves: There is a low-grade placer gold resource in about 500,000 cubic yards of alluvium in lower Willow Creek (Levell, 1984, v.2).
Commodities (Major) - Au; (Minor) - Ag, Sb
Development Status: Undetermined.
Deposit Model: Au-PGE placer (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).
2 entries listed. 2 valid minerals.
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Bundtzen, T.K., 1981, Geology and mineral deposits of the Kantishna Hills, Mt. McKinley quadrangle, Alaska: M. S. Thesis, University of Alaska, College, Alaska, 238 p. Cox, D.P., and Singer, D.A., eds., 1986, Mineral deposit models: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1693, 379 p. Hawley, C. C. and Associates, Inc, 1978, Mineral appraisal of lands adjacent to Mt. McKinley National Park, Alaska: U. S. Bureau of Mines Open-File Report 24-78, 275 p. (paged by sections). Heiner, L.E., and Porter, Eve, 1972, Alaska Mineral Properties, volume 2: University of Alaska, Mineral Industry Research Laboratory Report 24, 669 p. Levell, J. H., 1984, Appendix A, Placer, in 1983 Mineral Resource Studies: Kantishna Hills and Dunkle mine areas, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska: U. S. Bureau of Mines Open-File Report 129-84, Vol. 2, p. 1-219. Thornsberry, V. V., McKee, C. J., and Salisbury, W. G., eds, 1984, 1983 Mineral Resource Studies: Kantishna Hills and Dunkle Mine Areas, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska: U. S. Bureau of Mines Open-File Report 129-84. 3 Volumes: v. 1, Text; v. 2, Appendices; v. 3, Maps. Prepared by Salisbury & Dietz, Inc., Spokane, WA.