Falls Creek

Mine, Active

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Ore minerals gold

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale SR
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale B-7
Latitude 60.4337
Longitude -149.3386
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy This placer is located in T. 4 N., R. 1 E., sections 16, 17, and 18 and S1/2 section 13, T. 4 N., R. 1 W. of the Seward Meridian. From its headwaters this creek flows westwardly into Trail Creek. The lower 2 miles of the creek has produced placer gold; upstream, in another 2-mile section of the creek, the stream gravels contain small amounts of gold. The map location is in the center of the lower canyon, in SE1/4 section 18. This is location 163 of Cobb and Richter (1972), location 175 of MacKevett and Holloway (1977), location 22 of Tysdal (1978 [MF-880-B]), location 163 of Cobb and Tysdal (1980), and location P-55 of Jansons and others (1984). This location is accurate to within 300 feet.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Bedrock in the drainage is slate and sandstone of the Upper Cretaceous Valdez Group (Nelson and others, 1985). Most of the Falls Creek valley is narrow and steep sided. From its headwaters, Falls Creek descends in a series of steps. The uppermost section descends rapidly along a bedrock canyon below which is a relatively gentle portion with a narrow flood plain. Another canyon area begins just below the Falls Creek mine (lode) and continues to within a mile of its junction with Trail Creek. Below the second canyon a broad alluvial fan has developed.
Small amounts of gold have been found in the silty gravels a half mile above the Falls Creek mine (SR206) and in the alluvial fan gravels below the lower canyon (Jansons and others, 1984). Coarse gold has been recovered by suction dredges in the lower canyon.
Geologic map unit (-149.340728479252, 60.4331234574212)
Mineral deposit model Placer Au (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a)
Mineral deposit model number 39a
Age of mineralization Quaternary.

Production and reserves

Workings or exploration
Martin and others (1915) reported that all gold recovered had been taken from low benches in the canyon in the lower part of the creek and at the mouth of the canyon; they reported that the amount of gold in the canyon small, not sufficient to pay wages on pick and shovel work. In 1911, the gravel in the flats along Falls Creek between Kenai and Lower Trail Lakes was prospected by drilling. Twenty holes were drilled; depth to bedrock ranged from 10 to 23 feet. No definite pay streak was located (Martin and others, 1915). Drilling and prospect pits were dug in the 1950s on the alluvial fan below the lower canyon (Jansons and others, 1984). A small, mechanized operation worked alluvial gravel near the mouth of the lower canyon in 1980 without significant success. Suction dredging has occurred in the lower canyon area during each year since at least 1977 (Jansons and others, 1984).
In 1995, a mining claimant unsuccessfully attempted to patent the BBK #2, a 9-acre placer mining claim in the lower canyon. This was a small suction dredge operation that recovered coarse nuggets.
The U.S. Bureau of Mines collected two 0.1 cubic yard samples that yielded 0.0022 and 0.0077 ounce of gold per cubic yard. A dredge sample near the Falls Creek mine (SR206) yielded only traces of mercury-coated gold (Jansons and others, 1984). Two suction dredge samples collected by the mining claimant for the patent examination at the BBK #2 yielded .075 and .028 ounces of gold per hour.
An estimated 400,000 cubic yards or better of auriferous gravels are present in the alluvial deposits below the lower canyon (Jansons and others, 1984).
Indication of production Yes; small
Reserve estimates An estimated 400,000 cubic yards or better of auriferous gravels are present in the alluvial deposits below the lower canyon (Jansons and others, 1984).
Production notes The U.S. Bureau of Mines has estimated total production to be between 200 and 300 ounces (Jansons and others, 1984).

Additional comments

Carl Persson and Carol S. Huber conducted a mineral patent examination in 1995 and concluded that no discovery within the meaning of the 1872 Mining Law had been made. The patent application was subsequently dropped. A patent report is available at the Chugach National Forest office in Anchorage, Alaska.

References

MRDS Number A010630

References

Hoekzema, R.P., and Sherman, G.E., 1983, Mineral investigations in the Chugach National Forest, Alaska (Peninsula study area): U.S. Bureau of Mines in-house report; held at U.S. Bureau of Land Management Alaska State Office, Anchorage, 524 p.
Reporters Jeff A. Huber and Carol S. Huber (Anchorage)
Last report date 11/6/2000