Basin Creek

Mine, Active

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au; W
Ore minerals gold; hematite; ilmenite; scheelite

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale NM
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale C-1
Latitude 64.6821
Longitude -165.2838
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy This alluvial placer gold mine is on Basin Creek, an east tributary to Nome River. About 7,000 to 8,000 feet of Basin Creek, between elevations of 150 and 350 feet, have been placer mined. The map location is 0.6 mile upstream of the mouth of Basin Creek, about where it enters the Nome River floodplain, in the NW1/4 section 28, T. 9 S., R. 33 W., Kateel River Meridian. It is locality 112 of Cobb (1972 [MF 463], 1978 [OFR 78-93]). The location is accurate to within about 500 feet.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Gold was discovered on Basin Creek by 1900 (Brooks and others, 1901). At least 1 mile of the creek has been extensively placer mined, much by a small floating dredge. The partly crystalline gold was in a 150-foot-wide pay streak consisting of coarse gravels on bedrock and in crevices in bedrock. From top to bottom, the unconsolidated section included 2 feet of soil, 3 feet of rounded gravel, 12 feet of coarse, angular gravel containing more than 30 percent clasts greater than 10 inches in diameter, clay on bedrock, and 0.5 to 1.5 feet of fractured bedrock (Collier and others, 1908). Heavy mineral concentrates contained ilmenite, hematite, and scheelite. Coats (1944) later reported that the amount of placer scheelite in Basin Creek was negligible. The gold was approximately 900 fine (Purington, 1905). This mine continued to be active, at least for the purposes of tourist visits, at least until the 1970s. Bedrock is mainly marble, probably of Paleozoic protolith age (Hummel, 1962 [MF 247]; Till and Dumoulin, 1994). Bundtzen and others (1994) determined that albite-bearing mafic schist was in thrust contact with the marble about at the head of the pay streak in Basin Creek.
Geologic map unit (-165.286415157011, 64.6813394865414)
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 Extensive placer mine tailings are present along about 1 mile of Basin Creek upstream from the Nome River floodplain. Road construction materials have also been mined from the patented claims in Basin Creek. Mining since about 1960 has been mainly by a bucket line dredge with about 1.5-cubic-foot buckets. This dredge was constructed, and has been operated, by the Engstrom family.
Indication of production Yes; small
Production notes Production until about 1906 was about 1,450 ounces of gold (Moffit, 1913). Total production until 1996 is believed to be less than 20,000 ounces.

Additional comments

Basin Creek has been one of the most productive creeks on the east side of the Nome River in the Nome district.


MRDS Number A012919; D002575


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