Glacier Creek (includes Bonanza and Bergstrom Gulches)

Mine, Inactive

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Ag; Sn; W
Ore minerals cassiterite; gold; scheelite
Gangue minerals garnet

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale NM
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale C-1
Latitude 64.597
Longitude -165.4195
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy Glacier Creek is an east tributary to Snake River. It has been placer mined over a distance of at least 7,000 feet, starting at an elevation of about 75 feet downstream of the Snake River road crossing and extending upstream to an elevation of about 125 feet. The map location is at the approximate midpoint of the placer workings, in the NW1/4 section 26, T. 10 S., R. 34 W., Kateel River Meridian. This is locality 101 of Cobb (1972 [MF 463], 1978 [OFR 78-93]).

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Significant placer mining took place on Glacier Creek starting in 1900 when more than 36,000 ounces of gold were produced (Brooks and others, 1901). Mining continued to at least 1922 and included dredge operations from 1916 to 1922 (Cobb, 1978 [OFR 78-93]). About 1.4 miles of the creek have been placer mined, in places more than once, starting 1 mile above the mouth and extending upstream to beyond Snow Gulch (NM222). The lower part of the creek, in the Snake River valley, contained fine gold throughout 10 to 15 feet of gravel and in 2 to 3 feet of creviced bedrock in a 300-foot-wide pay streak (Collier and others, 1908). Near the mouth of Snow Gulch (NM222), the 6 feet of gravel over schist bedrock was gold-bearing, although richest in the lower 2 feet (Brooks and others, 1901). About one mile below the mouth of Snow Gulch, the placer was about 20 feet thick on chloritic schist bedrock and the pay streak about 300 feet wide. About the upper 3 feet of the schist was also gold-bearing. The gold was reported as fine, bright, and well-rounded (Collier and others, 1908, p. 193). The heavy mineral concentrate contained garnet, scheelite, and cassiterite (Brooks and others, 1901; Anderson, 1947). Some scheelite was recovered by dredge operations during WW I and from a residual placer (NM221) on the north side of the creek (Mertie, 1918 [B 662-!, p. 425-449]). Gold-bearing quartz veins and stringers in sulfidized schist were also identified along the north side of the creek valley, where rich bench placer deposits containing coarse gold were mined (NM219). An occurrence of mineralized bedrock near the mouth of Snow Gulch (NM221) reportedly is concordant to schistosity. The occurrence consists of sulfide-bearing quartz veins separated by sulfide-rich schist.
The deposit was discovered in 1898. Mining began soon afterward. Mining in 1900 in Glacier Creek and adjacent parts of Snow Gulch produced 750,000 dollars or more than 35,000 ounces of gold (Brooks and others, 1901, p. 69). The existence of scheelite in the concentrates was reported at this time. The recovered gold had a fineness of about 900 (Purington, 1905, p. 209).
Mining appears to have progressed through shovel-in operations to hydraulic elevators, other hydraulic operations, and then to dredging. Brooks (1904) reported the installation of hydraulic elevators in 1903. A dredge was in operation at least by 1916 (Mertie, 1918, p. 452, 455); dredge operations were reported up to at least 1922 (Brooks and Capps, 1924). Some of the ground was rich. Collier and others (1908, p. 193) thought ground mined prior to 1903 contained more than 5.00 dollars per cubic yard (about 1/4 ounce of gold per cubic yard). In 1916, a period of high tungsten prices during World War I, scheelite was saved in dredge concentrates from this mine as well as at the Lynx (NM221) lode claim (Mertie, 1918, p. 457). Coats (1944) considered Glacier Creek to be potentially important as a scheelite resource. Anderson (1947) reported scheelite and cassiterite in the placer concentrates and stibnite in nearby lodes.
The sources of placer gold in Glacier Creek appear to include nearby older bench placer deposits to the north of Glacier Creek, Snow Gulch, upper Glacier Creek and in lower Glacier Creek, Bonanza Gulch and Bergstrom Gulch.
Bedrock along Glacier Creek is locally graphitic chloritic schist and some marble (Collier and others, 1908, p. 193). The nearest bedrock mapped by Bundzten and others (1994) is chlorite-rich metaturbidite schist and marble. The bedrock is probably is probably of early Paleozoic protolith age (Hummel, 1962 [MF 247]; Sainsbury, Hummel, and Hudson, 1972 [OFR 72-326]; Till and Dumoulin, 1994; Bundtzen and others, 1994).
Geologic map unit (-165.42210415126, 64.5962340925918)
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 Glacier Creek was an early discovery in the Nome district. Claims were staked covering part of Glacier Creek and lower Snow Gulch on September 20 and November 28, 1898, by the Pioneer Mining Company owned by Lindeberg, Lindblom, and Brynteson. Claims on the lower part of Glacier Creek were located as early as October 19 and November 2 and 28 in 1898. These claims, known as No. 1, 2, and 3 Below Placer and the Joe Bench claim were patented to the Miocene Ditch Company in 1912. The Miocene Ditch Company was closely related to Pioneer Mining Company. One unpatented claim, the Utica, separated the upper (Snow Gulch) and lower Glacier Creek claims.
Indication of production Yes; medium
Production notes Production from as early as 1900 through 1922; possibly some activity in the 1930s. Production cannot be subdivided, but more than 750,000 dollars worth of gold (35,000 ounces) was recovered in 1900.


MRDS Number A012830; D002585


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.
Till, A.B., and Dumoulin, J.A, 1994, Geology of Seward Peninsula and St. Lawrence Island, in Plafker, G., and Berg, H.C., eds., The Geology of Alaska: Geological Society of America, DNAG, The Geology of North America, v. G-1, p. 141-152.
Reporters C.C. Hawley and Travis L. Hudson
Last report date 7/10/2000