Moose Creek

Mines, Inactive

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Ag
Ore minerals gold

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale MM
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale C-2
Latitude 63.5319
Longitude -150.9738
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy Moose Creek is one of the major placer creeks of the Kantishna Hills (Cobb, 1980 [OFR 80-363]) . Commencing at the junction of Moose Creek and its North Fork, the creek flows westerly for about six miles, turns northwesterly about a half-mile above the village of Kantishna and flows northwest for several miles, then turns almost due north about a mile north of Reindeer Hill. For this record, the location is on Moose Creek about a half-mile upstream from the mouth of Eureka Creek, in the NE1/4 of section 14, T. 16 S., R. 18 W., Fairbanks Meridian. Cobb (1972 [MF 366]) divides the Moose Creek placer into two segments. One (no. 44) nearly coincides with the foregoing location; the other (no. 42) is in the north-trending, lower canyon of Moose Creek. Thornsberry, McKee, and Salisbury (1984, fig. K-3) also subdivide the deposit: upper Moose Creek is the part of the creek above Eureka Creek; lower Moose Creek extends downstream from Eureka Creek.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Moose Creek mainly drains an area underlain by Precambrian Birch Creek Schist. Near Eureka Creek, it traverses semischist and phyllite of the Paleozoic Spruce Creek sequence for about a mile before it flows again over Birch Creek bedrock. It is a wide, meandering stream with a floodplain up to a mile wide. A thin alluvial gravel deposit lies along the modern course of the creek, which is incised into thick terrace gravels. Locally, as below Rainy and Glen Creeks, extensive fans encroach on the creek from the north. Till of Wisconsin age is probably buried by the terrace gravels west of Rainy and Glen creeks and near Willow Creek. In general, the alluvium near modern Moose Creek is on false bedrock (Davis, 1923; Bundtzen, 1981; Thornsberry, McKee, and Salisbury, 1984, figs. K-2 and K-3).
In section 16, the North Fork of Moose Creek is somewhat auriferous below Willow and Spruce creeks. The main course of Moose Creek is auriferous from the junction of North Fork, about two miles west of the mouth of Spruce Creek. Moose Creek is fed by several streams containing gold placers. Named in order from the upper reaches, they are Willow (MM107), Spruce (MM104), Glen (MM108), Rainy (MM130), Eureka (MM122), Eldorado (MM028), and Friday (MM113) creeks.
Except where very rich creeks enter Moose Creek, the terrace gravels generally are too lean to mine. The important resource is in relatively thin alluvial deposits along modern Moose Creek, especially in the part below Eureka Creek. In the lower canyon (Cobb, 1972 [MF-363]), the alluvium probably carried point bar and related riverine concentrations of fine gold that were discovered about 1905 (Prindle, 1907).
In 1984, testing of Moose Creek alluvium above Eureka Creek yielded values of about 0.0025 to 0.0074 ounce of gold per cubic yard . Below Eureka Creek, testing yielded values of as much as 0.0193 ounce of gold per cubic yard. About a mile of this alluvium has been mined (Levell, 1984, in Thornsberry, McKee, and Salisbury, 1984, table A-5). Values reported in 1984 are much less than those reported in 1923 (Davis, 1923, p. 116-119). In 1923, when gold was priced at $20.67 per ounce, placer ground 8-10 feet thick was reported to be worth 50 cents (0.025 ounce of gold) per bedrock foot. On a per-yard basis, this ground would have been worth about $1.75 (about 0.075 ounce of gold). Side pay was reported to be worth about eight to ten cents per bedrock foot. An attempt was made to mine the alluvium with hydraulic giants, but the gold recovered from a 50,000-square-foot cut was much less than had been suggested by the testing. The values were probably overestimated and some gold was probably lost in the hydraulic mining process. Mechanical mining in in the 1970s and 1980s near the mouth of Eureka Creek was successful. It probably worked Moose Creek alluvial gravels that had been enriched by gold contributed from Eureka and Eldorado creeks.
Geologic map unit (-150.976086005768, 63.5313929662185)
Mineral deposit model Au-PGE placer deposits: reworked alluvial deposits and downstream riverine deposits (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).
Mineral deposit model number 39a
Age of mineralization Holocene.

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration Extensive testing in about 1920 led to an attempt to hydraulic mine Moose Creek alluvial deposits near Eureka Creek in 1922. Apparently the values were not as good as those suggested by exploration, or gold was lost in sluicing. The increase in the value of gold in 1934 led to renewed prospecting and possibly to mining from 1937 to 1939 (Cobb, 1980, p. 70 [OFR 80-363]). Further increase in the price of gold and development of efficient mechanical equipment resulted in successful mining in Moose Creek between 1973 and 1984.
Indication of production Yes; small
Reserve estimates Levell (1984, table A-5 [v. 2]) calculated ranges of gold resources on Moose Creek, based on measured volumes of alluvium and on grades determined by testing. In the section below Eureka Creek, where there was some commercial mining, 3,700,000 cubic yards of stream and bench alluvium could contain 740 to 71,410 ounces of gold on then-claimed ground. In the section above Eureka Creek, where the maximum grade found by testing was only 0.0074 ounce of gold per cubic yard, a moderate potential resource of 10,200,000 cubic yards of alluvium could contain 25,500 to 75,480 ounces of gold on then-claimed ground. A significant increase in the constant-dollar price of gold would be necessary to convert these theoretical resources to theoretical reserves.
Production notes About 5000 ounces of gold probably was recovered from Moose Creek.

Additional comments

Moose Creek was claimed continuously from the junctions of Willow and Spruce creeks at the head of the North Fork to about one mile below the junction of Friday Creek (Hawley and Associates, 1978). Except for the stretch between Eureka and Friday creeks, where the claims are double wide, the claims on Moose Creek are single width and closely follow the general meandering course of the creek. The claims are in Denali National Park and Preserve and are inactive except possibly for recreational panning by park visitors.

References

MRDS Number A011274

References

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.
Reporters C.C. Hawley
Last report date 4/21/2001