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Bearpaw River Prospects, Kantishna District, Denali Borough, Alaska, USA

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The Bearpaw River furnished access to the district in gold rush years. Two of the historic ghost towns occupied by stampeders, Diamond and Glacier, are on the river. The main course of the river is in Denali National Park and Preserve.
Location: Bearpaw River (Cobb, 1980 [OFR 80-363]) is one of the major rivers in the north part of the Kantishna district. It rises against the northern Kantishna Hills across the divide from Little Caribou Creek (MM016) and Crooked Creek (MM013). The river then flows west for about 10 miles to its confluence with Caribou Creek (MM042); from this junction the river flows northerly. For this record, the location is on the north-flowing part of Bearpaw River below its junction with Caribou Creek. It is a generalized location for a part of the river that probably contains river bar deposits of fine gold.
Geology: Bearpaw River flows through narrow canyon walls, mainly of Birch Creek schist, on its westerly course above the junction with Caribou Creek. Below the Caribou Creek junction, the river occupies a wide floodplain. In particular, beginning at about 5 miles upstream from the ghost town of Diamond, the river meanders across a wide, gentle, flood plain. Gold was found in headwater tributaries of the Bearpaw River shortly after discovery of placer gold in the Kantishna district (Prindle, 1906, p. 125). Brooks reported mining on Bearpaw in 1911 (Brooks, 1912, p. 38). No evidence of extensive mining remains. In 1983, Levell (1984, v. 2) collected samples of alluvium from the Bearpaw River above Caribou Creek. One sample contained 0.0021 ounce of gold per cubic yard, but the rest contained 0.0004 ounce or less per cubic yard, and Levell assigned the river a low placer resource potential. There probably are transient deposits of fine gold in bars of the Bearpaw River below Caribou Creek.
Workings: There is evidence of exploration but not of extensive placer gold mining on the Bearpaw River. Gold was discovered on the river as early as 1905 (Prindle, 1906). In 1983, Levell (1984, v. 2) collected samples of alluvium from the Bearpaw River above Caribou Creek. One sample contained 0.0021 ounce of gold per cubic yard, but the rest contained 0.0004 ounce or less per cubic yard, and Levell assigned the river a low placer resource potential. There probably are transient deposits of fine gold in bars of the Bearpaw River below Caribou Creek.
Age: Holocene.
Reserves: Levell (1984, v. 2) assigned the river a low placer resource potential. There probably are transient deposits of fine gold in bars of the Bearpaw River below Caribou Creek.

Commodities (Major) - Au
Development Status: Undetermined.
Deposit Model: Au-PGE placer (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).

Mineral List



1 entry listed. 1 valid mineral.

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References

Brooks, A.H., 1912, The mining industry in 1911, in Brooks, A.H., and others, Mineral resources of Alaska, report on progress of investigations in 1911: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 520-A, p. 17-44. Cobb, E.H., 1980, Summary of references to mineral occurrences (other than mineral fuels and construction materials) in the Mount McKinley quadrangle, Alaska: U. S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 80-363, 150 p. Cox, D.P., and Singer, D.A., eds., 1986, Mineral deposit models: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1693, 379 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. Prindle, L.M., 1906, Yukon placer fields: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 284, p. 109-127.

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