California Creek

Mine, Active?

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities W
Ore minerals gold; scheelite

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale AN
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale A-6
Latitude 61.01
Longitude -149.18
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy The headwaters of California Creek are approximately 1/2 mile west of the summit of Raggedtop Mountain. The creek flows dominantly southward into Glacier Creek (in the Seward D-6 topographic quadrangle), about 2 miles upstream from the mouth of Glacier Creek. Majority of mining activity occurred in the Seward quadrangle.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Erratically distributed placer gold occurs in the California Creek valley. The creek occurs in a steep, narrow avalanche debris-filled glacial valley having little accumulation of gravel. The gravels exposed along California Creek contain considerable clay and are probably glacial till. An alluvial fan at the lower end of the creek contains fine-grained gold. The middle section of the creek is in a bedrock gorge. Grades are reported to be extremely variable (Moffit, 1906; Jansons and others, 1984).
The bedrock through which California Creek flows are Late Cretaceous metasedimentary rocks of the Valdez Group. The metasediments are locally intruded by felsic dikes and plugs. Creek float consists of graywacke, argillite, and granite. Jasper (1967) reported that stream sediment concentrates collected from the lower stream course contained 20 grains of scheelite, about 5 percent magnetite, a little pyrite, and about 20 grains of zircon. Two 0.1 cubic yard bench samples collected at the canyon mouth yielded 0.0006 and 0.0007 oz Au/cubic yard (Jansons and others, 1984).
Geologic map unit (-149.182184297621, 61.0094401952485)
Mineral deposit model Placer Au (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a)
Mineral deposit model number 39a
Age of mineralization Quaternary.

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration
In the Turnagain Arm area, the first gold north of the arm was found in 1895 by F.J. Perry and Christopher Spillum, on California Creek (Moffit, 1906). The placer deposits were worked intermittently, with hand placer operations, between 1898 and 1914. In the late 1920s, work was begun along the creek in preparation for a mine that was to be in place by 1930. However, late in 1931, the operators decided to abandon the project. Since 1975 some hand placer activity has also occurred.
Jasper (1967) reported that stream sediment concentrates collected from the lower stream course contained 20 grains of scheelite, about 5 percent magnetite, a little pyrite, and about 20 grains of zircon. Two 0.1 cubic yard bench samples collected at the canyon mouth yielded 0.0006 and 0.0007 oz Au/cubic yard (Jansons and others, 1984). Jansons and others (1984) indicated a low to moderate mineral development potential for a small scale mechanized operation at the lower end of the creek, and for hand placer mining and suction dredging operations.
Indication of production Yes; small
Production notes Total estimated production since 1898 is 400 oz (Jansons and others, 1984).

Additional comments

Most of the mining activity along California Creek occurred in the Seward D-6 1:63,360-scale quadrangle.

References

MRDS Number A106177

References

Reporters D.P. Bickerstaff (USGS contractor)
Last report date 7/30/1998