California Creek

Mine, Inactive

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Asbestos; nephrite
Ore minerals gold

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale SH
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale D-2
Latitude 66.9571
Longitude -156.6251
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy The California Creek placer deposit is on California Creek between Little Creek and Wonder Creek. The coordinates are for the mine symbol on Shungnak D-2 quadrangle. The deposit is in sections 14, 15, and 22, T. 18 N., R. 10 E., of the Kateel River Meridian. Cobb (1972, MF-448), location 16, and Mayfield and Grybeck (1978), location 34.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

At California Creek, placer gold occurs in the lower 5 feet of creek gravels, but not in bedrock crevices. The gold is smooth, flat and coarse; about half of it was nugget size. It was worth about $17.20 per ounce in 1931. The grade of the deposit was said to average $0.81 per cubic yard up to and including production from 1930. In 1931 the ground averaged about $0.385 per cubic yard (gold at $20.67/ounce). Both creek and bench deposits were auriferous. Depth to bedrock ranged from 14 to 20 feet. The gravel is coarse, up to 3 inches in diameter, and contains numerous subangular boulders of greenstone and greenschist up to 3 feet in diameter. Nephrite boulders were common, but few of gem quality. Asbestos fibers said to be as long as 3 inches were found in placer workings.
The valley is unglaciated. The stream drains an area of lower Paleozoic metavolcanic rock and phyllite that is cut by many quartz veins from which the gold in the placers was probably derived. The veins may be genetically linked to the mid-Paleozoic granitic intrusion that outcrops on lower Lynx Creek (ARDF number SH006) (Reed, 1931). Quartz crystals have been recovered from gold placers.
Geologic map unit (-156.62782218568, 66.956553601748)
Mineral deposit model Placer Au-PGE (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).
Mineral deposit model number 39a
Age of mineralization Quaternary.

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration California Creek has been mined since gold was discovered on it in 1918. The deposit was mined by hydraulicking pits and washing the lower 6 to 10 feet of gravel through a sluice box. Flumes, hydraulic mining equipment and piles of stripped gravel remain along the creek. The deposit is probably mined out.
Indication of production Yes; small
Reserve estimates The deposit is probably mined out.

Additional comments

Stream gradient is approximately 200 feet per mile. Asbestos fibers said to be as long as 3 inches were found in placer workings.


MRDS Number A011881; A015603


Reporters Anita Williams (Anchorage, AK)
Last report date 12/16/1999