Upper Chicken Creek

Mine, Active

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Ag; Bi; Cd; Cu; Hg; Pb; Sb
Ore minerals chalcopyrite; cinnabar; gold; silver-bearing sulfosalts; stibnite
Gangue minerals dolomite; quartz; zircon

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale ID
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale B-4
Latitude 62.37678
Longitude -157.97657
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy This placer and a lode deposit in it are at the head of Chicken Creek, a south flowing tributary of Bonanza Creek. The tailings from the workings are shown on the USGS 1:63,360-scale topographic map. The center of the workings is about 0.8 mile southwest of the top of Chicken Mountain at an elevation of about 1,500 feet. The placer is in the NW1/4 section 3, T. 27 N., R. 47 W., of the Seward Meridian. The location is accurate.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

This site on Upper Chicken Creek includes both a lode deposit and a residual placer over it. The lode deposit is a quartz stockworks in monzonite of the Chicken Mountain pluton which is 68.7-70.9 Ma (Bundtzen and others, 1992). Two sets of steeply dipping quartz veins in the stockworks strike N30-40E and N45-55W; a minor set is nearly horizontal. The orientations suggest that the veins are controlled by an orthogonal joint set in the monzonite (Bundtzen and others, 1992; Miller and Bundtzen, 1994, and Miller, Bundtzen, and Gray, 2005). The veins are associated with tourmaline and secondary biotite in the monzonite. The quartz veins in the stockworks contain native gold, stibnite, silver-bearing sulfosalts, cinnabar, and minor chalcopyrite (Bundtzen and others, 1992).
The quartz stockworks is the source of a residual placer above it. When visited by Mertie (1936) in 1933, miners, who had been mining here since 1924, were working a 500-feet-wide residual placer deposit. Most of the gold occurred in a 3- to 6-foot thick zone of monzonite sand at the base of a 20- to 30-foot thick layer of decomposed monzonite. Small amounts of gold occurred in the grus overburden. The gold was fine-grained, angular, and nearly equidimensional. The largest nugget weighed about 1/2 ounce. The fineness of the gold as reported by the miners was 862 based on assays of five samples collected in 1929. The residual placer was mined nearly concurrently with the Idaho, and Upgrade deposits at the head of Flat Creek (ID107). The heavy minerals in the placer are essentially those found in the lode (Bundtzen, Cox, and Veach, 1987). Heavy mineral concentrates from Chicken Creek locally were also radioactive, probably from concentrations of uranium and thorium in zircon (White and Killeen, 1953). Placer concentrates mined in the late 1950s contained 53.3 percent mercury, 500 parts per million (ppm) antimony, and 16.1 ppm silver (Maloney, 1962). Production from the placer in upper Chicken Creek is combined with that of lower Chicken Creek (ID112).
Geologic map unit (-157.97897520352, 62.3760938429242)
Mineral deposit model Porphyry Cu-Au and Au placer (Cox and Singer, 1986; models 20c and 39a).
Mineral deposit model number 20c and 39a
Age of mineralization Unknown; the Chicken Mountain pluton is 68.7 - 70.9 Ma (Bundtzen and others, 1992).
Alteration of deposit Tourmaline and quartz are in the veins; the monzonite is altered to secondary biotite.

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration The lode gold deposit in upper Chicken Creek and the residual placer above it was known by 1912 (Eakin, 1914). Mining commenced soon afterward; extensive open cut mining occurred between 1915 and World War II, including a mining operation that lasted from at least 1924 until 1933 (Mertie, 1936; Cobb, 1976 [OFR 76-576]). Production from upper Chicken Creek is combined with that of lower Chicken Creek (ID112). The U.S. Bureau Mines tested the disseminated deposits in upper Chicken Creek with shallow auger holes (Kimball, 1969). Rock samples were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey and Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys in the 1980s and released in Bull (1988) and Bundtzen and others (1992).
Indication of production Yes
Production notes Production from upper Chicken is combined with that of Lower Chicken Creek (ID112).


MRDS Number A015047


Bull, K.F., 1988, Genesis of the Golden Horn and related mineralization in the Flat Creek area, Alaska: Fairbanks, University of Alaska M.Sc. thesis, 300 p.
Bundtzen, T.K., Cox, B.C., and Veach, N.C., 1987, Heavy mineral provenance studies in the Iditarod and Innoko districts, western Alaska: Process Mineralogy VII, The Metallurgical Society, p. 221-246.
Reporters T.K. Bundtzen (Pacific Rim Geological Consulting, Inc.), M.L. Miller (U.S. Geological Survey); and C.C. Hawley (Hawley Resource Group)
Last report date 5/24/2003