Rye Creek

Mine, Probably inactive

Commodities and mineralogy

Main commodities Au
Other commodities Cu; Pb; REE; W
Ore minerals chalcopyrite; galena; gold; ilmenite; monazite; pyrite; scheelite

Geographic location

Quadrangle map, 1:250,000-scale WI
Quadrangle map, 1:63,360-scale B-3
Latitude 67.4092
Longitude -151.3745
Nearby scientific data Find additional scientific data near this location
Location and accuracy Rye Creek is a west-flowing tributary to Flat Creek that joins it about 4 miles south-southwest of Mathews Dome. More than a mile of Rye Creek from where it emerges onto the flat valley of Flat Creek to the mouth of Jay Creek (WI082) has been placer mined. The coordinates are at about the midpoint of the mining in the 1980s and 1990s. This location is about 0.2 mile southwest of the center of section 21, T. 30 N., R. 17 W. The location is accurate.

Geologic setting

Geologic description

Placer gold was found at Rye Creek in 1915 (Brooks, 1916). As described by Reed (1938), gold was found in three environments; along the present channel, along a high channel, and along a deep channel. Beginning in the early history of mining on Rye Creek, the present channel was mined from the mouth of Jay Creek for a short distance out into the alluvial fan where Rye Creek enters the valley of Flat Creek. Most of the mining was by open cut methods but there was some drift mining on the lower part of the creek. A high channel on the north side of the lower valley of Rye Creek was explored by shafts and in the 1990s by mechanical mining with heavy equipment. A deep channel occurs along the right limit of Rye Creek. A shaft was sunk 85 feet to bedrock beside lower Rye Creek and the deep channel was drift mined for a short distance. There was additional drift mining along the deep channel about 0.2 mile below Jay Creek, where the depth to bedrock is about 20 feet. Several deep shafts and drill holes were sunk in the valley of Flat Creek above the lower part of Rye Creek, but a 350-foot drill hole bottomed in muck and ice. Kurtak and others (2002) also found signs of old mining in the upper portion of Rye Creek, locally known as Lucky Creek, above the mouth of Jay Creek (WI082).
Rye Creek was first mined in 1904, then for several years between 1912 and 1916, from 1933 to 1937, and in the late 1960s. There was extensive mining from 1983 to at least 1999 by the Northern Lights Mining Company (Kurtak and others (2002). Reed (1938) reported that total gold production from Rye Creek to 1938 was $55,000 (approximately 1,600 ounces). Nearly half of that was recovered from a short section just below Jay Creek (WI082), where the gold values were about $3.35 per square foot of bedrock (gold at $35 per ounce). The only other documented gold production is 101 ounces in 1938 and 1939. However, Kurtak and others (2002) indicate that the total gold production 'could be as much as 3,537 ounces'.
The gravel in Rye Creek is angular, coarse, and contains numerous small boulders. Miners report that the gold occurs in pockets and that some of it is coarse. Much of the early mining may have concentrated on these pockets. During the mining in the late 1990s, mechanical equipment stripped the gravel over the bedrock and a metal detector was used to check the bedrock for large nuggets. A 7.5 ounce nugget was found this way.
Reed (1938) reports that the bedrock on lower Rye Creek to about 0.5 mile below the mouth of Jay Creek is blue crystalline limestone; upstream, the bedrock is schist. He suspects a fault contact between these two units. Dillon and others (1986) mapped most of lower Rye Creek as Skajit Limestone; the uppermost part of the creek flows across Devonian chloritic and carbonate rocks. White (1952) reported various accessory minerals in panned samples from Rye Creek; these include ilmenite, andalusite, kyanite, pyrite, zircon, chalcopyrite, monazite, galena, and scheelite.
Geologic map unit (-151.377238980265, 67.4087479966754)
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 Rye Creek was first mined in 1904, then or several years between 1912 and 1916, from 1933 to 1937, and in the late 1960s. There was extensive mining from 1983 to at least 1999 by the Northern Lights Mining Company (Kurtak and others, 2002).
Indication of production Yes
Reserve estimates Unknown but it is likely that at least some gold remains despite several episodes of mining over more than 100 years.
Production notes Reed (1938) reported that total gold production from Rye Creek to 1938 was $55,000 (approximately 1,600 ounces). Nearly half of that was recovered from a short section just below Jay Creek (WI082), where the gold values were about $3.35 per square foot of bedrock (gold at $35 per ounce). The only other documented gold production is 101 ounces in 1938 and 1939. However, Kurtak and others (2002) indicate that the total gold production could be as much as 3,537 ounces'.

References

MRDS Number A011047; D002541

References

Reporters J.M. Britton (Anchorage); D.J. Grybeck (Contractor, USGS)
Last report date 2/1/2011