Deadwood Creek

Mine, Active

Alternative names

Forty Three Pup
Twenty Five Pup
Sixteen Pup
Fifteen Pup
Nine Pup
Discovery Gulch
Tommys Pup
Switch Creek
Twenty Two Pup
Twenty Six Pup

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Ag; Hg; Pb; Sn; W
Ore minerals cassiterite; cinnabar; gold; scheelite; wolframite

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale CI
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale B-2
Latitude 65.465
Longitude -144.926
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy The location is the confluence of Discovery Gulch and Deadwood Creek about 9 miles southwest of Circle Hot Springs. The placered area extends about 4.5 miles upstream and downstream from this point, and up the following tributaries to Deadwood Creek: Fortythree Pup, Twenty-five Pup, Sixteen Pup, Fifteen Pup, Nine Pup, Discovery Gulch, Tommys Pup, Switch Creek, Twenty-two Pup, and Twenty-six Pup.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Deadwood Creek flows through a northeast-trending valley for about 16 km where it then enters the Tintina fault trench and flattens into a broad fan. The creek meanders for another 8 km before emptying into Crooked Creek. Almost all of the gold produced to date has come from the portion of Deadwood Creek above the Tintina fault trench. Deadwood Creek drainage lies within the 'Lower Schist' bedrock unit described by Wiltse and others (1995) as 'medium to dark gray and medium greenish-gray, fine to medium grained, commonly slightly calcareous quartz-muscovite schist, and lesser amounts of quartzose porphyroblastic-albite-chlorite schist and chlorite schist.' Numerous quartz veins ranging from less than a centimeter to almost a meter in width are present in the schists. Some quartz veins are folded with the enclosing schist; however, most veins cut across the foliation and are not folded. Disseminated pyrite and galena are locally present in the schist in the upper part of Deadwood Creek valley (Yeend, 1991). Granite outcrops are seen in the lower 6 km of the creek valley, south of the Hot Springs Fault contact.
Gravel in Deadwood Creek ranges from 1 to 5 meters in thickness, with as much as 3 meters of muck overburden. Boulders are up to 1 meter in diameter, but more commonly are 0.3 meter in diameter. Several wide benches mantled with gold-bearing gravel occur along the northwest side of the valley. The pay streak was as much as 130 m in width. In areas of quartzite bedrock, gold was found as deep as 1 m in cracks and crevices. Some nuggets weighed as much as 0.5 oz, but in general the gold was flaky and fine, averaging 5 to 6 mg (Mertie, 1938).
Large amounts of wolframite and cassiterite (1 to 2 pounds per cubic yard) were present in the heavy-mineral fraction of the concentrates recovered in several mining operations, especially those immediately above the mouth of Switch Creek (Johnson, 1910). Mertie (1938) reported that tin and tungsten mineralization in the bedrock occurred south of the southernmost outcrop of granite. Other heavy minerals detected in concentrates are magnetite, ilmenite, arsenopyrite, pyrite, galena, limonite, garnet, scheelite, and cinnabar. Small amount of uranium were detected in several of these minerals (Eberlein and others, 1977). Burand (1965) reported anomalous amounts of copper, zinc, and lead in sediments.
A reconnaissance soil sampling program on a ridge near Discovery Gulch outlined an area of seven samples ranging in value from 30 to 1125 ppb Au and associated elevated arsenic values (La Teko Resources Ltd, news release, January 6, 1998).
Geologic map unit (-144.928447260117, 65.4646344928986)
Mineral deposit model Placer gold deposit (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a); Polymetallic mineralization associated with granite.
Mineral deposit model number 39a

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration
Mining on Deadwood Creek has been nearly continuos since the original gold discovery. In the early years, placers were mined by drifting and shallow opencuts. After 1909, hydraulic mining became the primary method. In 1936, there were six individually owned placer mining operations on the creek - two hydraulic plants, two opencut operations, one drift mine and one mechanical excavation operation (Mertie, 1938). A dragline excavator used in 1936-1937 cleared 3000 sq ft of bedrock daily. A dredge used in 1937-1938 had 60 buckets of 4 cubic foot capacity running at 27 buckets per minute (Mertie, 1938). Recent mines have been operating on the gravel near and just upstream from the Hot Springs fault (Yeend, 1991).
In 1996 and 1997, LaTeko Resources Ltd. conducted geological mapping, soil sampling, and trenching with results indicating anomalous gold values. The anomalies appear to be associated with a northwest-trending granitic intrusion. Several samples returned better than 100 parts per billion gold (LaTeko Resources Ltd. Annual Report, 1997).
Indication of production Yes; small
Production notes 110 men working 8 out of the 47 claims produced approximately 5,000 oz of gold during 1896 (Dunham, 1898). Yield of 2 to 3 oz 'to the shovel' were not uncommon (2 to 3 oz of gold could be recovered from the gravel shoveled by a man in a 10-hour day). Total production from 1894 to 1906 was 33,865 fine ounces (Brooks, 1907).

Additional comments

The entire length of the Deadwood Creek flood plain has been mined for gold, and the creek has a reputation among miners as being the most 'mined-out' creek in the Circle district (Yeend, 1991, p. 17). See also Switch Creek, ARDF no. CI056.


MRDS Number A012208; D002682


Malone, Kevin, 1965, Mercury in Alaska, in Mercury potential of the United States: U.S. Bureau of Mines Information Circular 8252, p. 31-59.
Reporters C.J. Freeman, J.R. Guidetti Schaefer, A.S. Clements (Avalon Development Corporation)
Last report date 9/8/1998