Oregon Creek

Mine, Active

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Bi; Ti; W
Ore minerals bismuth; galena; gold; hematite; magnetite; rutile; scheelite; sphalerite; stibnite
Gangue minerals garnet

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale NM
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale C-2
Latitude 64.6913
Longitude -165.652
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy Oregon Creek is a east tributary to Cripple River; the mouth of Oregon Creek is just above where the Nome-Teller road crosses Cripple River. The Oregon Creek placer consists of auriferous gravel in or near modern Oregon Creek and nearly parallel bench deposits on the southeast flank of the creek. The bench deposits terminate upstream at Short Creek (in Short Gulch), a south tributary to Oregon Creek. The placer deposit in Oregon Creek was mainly developed below Mountain Creek (NM145), a north tributary. Mountain Creek has also been called Greenstone Creek by Herreid (1970). The location is the approximate mid-point of the bench deposits. The creek and bench locations are the same as localities 71 and 72 of Cobb (1972 [MF 463], 1978 [OFR 78-93]).

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Gold was discovered in Oregon Creek and adjacent bench deposits before 1901 (Brooks and others, 1901, p. 69, 92-94); the deposits were worked extensively before 1918. Gold, accompanied by magnetite, garnet, bismuth, rutile, and scheelite, occurs in the placer deposits (Collier and others, 1908, p. 211-213; Cobb, 1975 [MR-66]; Anderson, 1947). Boulders of schist containing galena and sphalerite were found in the placer open cuts (Herreid, 1970). Stibnite and quartz boulders occur upstream in Mountain Creek, and stibnite was found in place in schist on the south side of Oregon Creek by Kennecott Exploration Company in 1992. Calcareous schist and schistose marble boulders containing galena and sphalerite are similar to rocks found upstream at the Aurora (NM140) and Christophosen (NM141) prospects. The boulders are either derived from these deposits or another deposit closer to the placer deposits. Boulders of gneiss, apparently derived from the Kigluaik Mountains, are also found at Oregon Creek. The placer deposit in the active creek was covered by only a few feet of gravel. Bench deposits were covered by about 20 to 25 feet of gravel. These deposits were mined both by drift and surface hydraulic methods. The pay zone on Oregon Creek was about 70 feet wide but less than 1 foot thick. Bedrock in the Oregon Creek area is mainly calc-schist, but outcrops on the north side of the creek appear to be a felsic schist, similar to the felsic schist unit exposed at Aurora Creek (Bundtzen and others, 1994).
Geologic map unit (-165.654624482522, 64.6905347994147)
Mineral deposit model Alluvial placer Au (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).
Mineral deposit model number 39a
Age of mineralization Quaternary.

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration The placer deposits have been worked by surface hand operations, hydraulic cuts, and drift mining. Placer mining began in 1900; the gold produced in 1900 from Oregon and nearby Nugget (NM147), Mountain (NM145) and Hungry Creeks (NM149) was estimated at about 2,400 ounces (Brooks and others, 1901, p. 69). Mining was reported by Moffit (1905), Collier and others (1908), in 1914 by Eakin (1915 [B 622-I, p. 369-370]), in 1916 (Mertie, 1918 [B 662-I, p. 455]), and in 1918 (Cathcart, 1920, p. 189). The area was worked by non-float mechanical methods in 1940 (Smith, 1942, p. 57). Some mining by open-cut methods on the patented claims occurred in the 1990s.
Indication of production Yes; small
Reserve estimates There is at least a small placer resource left in the area, especially in the bench deposits.
Production notes Patented claims cover most of the bench placers.


MRDS Number A012869; A012870; A012871; D002573


Brooks, A.H., Richardson, G.B., Collier, A.J., and W.C. Mendenhall, 1901, A reconnaissance in the Cape Nome and adjacent gold fields of Seward Peninsula, Alaska, in 1900: U.S. Geological Survey Special Publication, p. 1-185, maps.
Reporters C.C. Hawley and Travis L. Hudson
Last report date 3/12/2000