|Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale||SO|
|Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale||D-6|
|Nearby scientific data||Find additional scientific data near this location|
|Location and accuracy||This is a copper mine located on an east-facing marble slope in the headwaters of West Branch Sherrette Creek, at an elevation of about 1,350 feet. The location used by Cobb (1972, MF 445, locality 6) is closer to the upper Benson Creek occurrence (SO125). Cobb (1978, OF 78-181) referred to this site as Wheeler (Sherrette Cr.). This is Asher's (1969, DGGS R18) locality 1.|
The Wheeler mine has received more work than any other similar copper-bearing deposit in the area. The mine was explored by several prospecting pits, a 200-foot-long adit in barren marble, and a 90-foot-deep shaft that did not intersect the adit (Cathcart, 1922). The shaft was sunk on a 8-foot-wide exposure of malachite and encountered 30 feet of copper-bearing silica-rich rock, 5 feet of schist, and barren marble below. The copper-bearing zone conforms with layering in the host rock. Material on the shaft dump consists of seams of limonite and malachite to 3 inches wide and remnants of chalcopyrite. High grade malachite-azurite ore was handpicked and shipped to the Tacoma, Washington smelter in 1917 or 1918 (Wimmler, 1926, in Asher, 1969, DGGS R18). This ore was from the upper 20 feet of the shaft and assayed 0.33 ounces Ag per ton, 35.68 percent Cu, 7.60 percent Fe, and 15.40 percent silica. Another shipment, primarily from the schist zone in the shaft, assayed 1.82 ounces Au per ton, 5.16 ounces Ag per ton, and 17.18 percent Cu (Wimmler, 1926, in Asher, 1969, DGGS R18). A total of 24.5 tons of ore were shipped before 1920 (Cathcart, 1922).This deposit is one of many occurrences of copper mineralization in silica-rich rocks near the regional contact between marble in a lower Paleozoic metasedimentary assemblage and pelitic schist of possible Cambrian or Precambrian age (Till and others, 1986). This type of copper occurrence is present at several localities in the western Solomon quadrangle (Gamble, 1988) and has similarities to several in the Kougarok area of the northeastern Teller quadrangle. In the Teller quadrangle, the Ward mine (TE071) is an example of this type of copper mineral occurrence. The Ward mine has been described as a zone of silicification in marble above a thrust contact with underlying metapelitic schist (Sainsbury and others, 1969; Sainsbury, 1975, p. 90-94). The silica-rich rocks have been metamorphosed and commonly have a laminar fabric. Copper-bearing minerals, mostly malachite but also including azurite and in places chalcopyrite and possibly bornite, are disseminated in the silica-rich rocks. The minor sulfides tend to be along faint laminae and joints (Sainsbury and others, 1969, p. 22). Malachite and azurite also occur in small veins and veinlets in the silica-rich rocks. The summary characterization of this type of Seward Peninsula mineral deposit by Sainsbury (1975, p. 90-94) contains inconsistencies with some descriptions of these deposits. Their origin is uncertain and other possibilities should be considered. One possiblity is that the silica-rich rocks are quartzites and that there is a stratigraphic control to the Ward deposit and similar occurrences elsewhere on Seward Peininsula. Quartzite at the base of the regional carbonate assemblage is recognized elsewhere in the Kougarok Mountain area (Puchner, 1986, p. 1777).
|Geologic map unit||(-164.64362612217, 64.9162558631509)|
|Mineral deposit model||Copper-bearing mineralization in silica-rich zones at or near base of marble.|
|Age of mineralization||Unknown; if stratigraphic controls are important then it is probably Paleozoic in age.|
|Alteration of deposit||Silicification (?) and oxidation; the development of silica-rich rocks at or near the the base of Paleozoic marble overlying characterizes this type of copper occurrence.|
|Workings or exploration||The Wheeler mine has received more work than any other similar copper-bearing deposit in the area. The deposit was explored by several prospecting pits, a 200-foot long adit in barren marble, and a 90-foot-deep shaft that did not intersect the adit (Cathcart, 1922).|
|Indication of production||Yes; small|
|Production notes||High grade malachite-azurite ore was handpicked and shipped to the Tacoma, Washington smelter in 1917 or 1918 (Wimmler, 1926, in Asher, 1969, DGGS R18). This ore was from the upper 20 feet of the shaft and assayed 0.33 ounces Ag per ton, 35.68 percent Cu, 7.60 percent Fe, and 15.40 percent silica. Another shipment, primarily from the schist zone in the shaft, assayed 1.82 ounces Au per ton, 5.16 ounces Ag per ton, and 17.18 percent Cu (Wimmler, 1926, in Asher, 1969, DGGS R18). A total of 24.5 tons of ore were shipped before 1920 (Cathcart, 1922).|
Asher, R.R., 1969, Geology and geochemistry of part of the Iron Creek area, Solomon D-6 quadrangle, Seward Peninsula, Alaska: Alaska Division of Mines and Geology Geochemical Report 18, 19 p.
Cathcart, S.H., 1922, Metalliferous lodes in southern Seward Peninsula: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 722-F, p. 163-261.
Cobb, E.H., 1972, Metallic mineral resources map of the Solomon quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-445, 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000.
Cobb, E.H., 1978, Summary of references to mineral occurrences (other than mineral fuels and construction materials) in the Solomon quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 78-181, 185 p.
Gamble, B.M., 1988, Non-placer mineral occurrences in the Solomon, Bendeleben, and southern part of the Kotzebue quadrangles, western Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-1838-B, 13 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000.
Puchner, C.C., 1987, Geology, alteration, and mineralization of the Kougarok Sn deposit, Seward Peninsula, Alaska; Discussion reply: Economic Geology, v. 82, p. 2201-2204.
Sainsbury, C.L., 1975, Geology, ore deposits, and mineral potential of the Seward Peninsula, Alaska: U.S. Bureau of Mines Open-File Report 73-75, 108 p., 3 sheets, scale 1:250,000.
Sainsbury, C.L., Kachadoorian, Reuben, Hudson, Travis, Smith, T.E., Richards, T.R., and Todd, W.E., 1969, Reconnaissance geologic maps and sample data, Teller A-1, A-2, A-3, B-1, B-2, B-3, C-1, and Bendeleben A-6, B-6, C-6, D-5, and D-6 quadrangles. Seward Peninsula, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 69-236, 49 p., 12 sheets, scale 1:63,360.
Till, A.B., Dumoulin, J.A., Gamble, B. ., Kaufman, D.S., and Carroll, P.I., 1986, Preliminary geologic map and fossil data, Soloman, Bendeleben, and southern Kotzebue quadrangles, Seward Peninsula, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 86-276, 10 p., 3 plates, scale 1:250,000.
|Reporters||Travis L. Hudson (Applied Geology)|
|Last report date||8/19/1999|