Hot Air Bench (Columbia Mine)

Past Producer in Alaska, United States with commodities Gold, Silver

Geologic information

Identification information

Deposit ID 10002054
MRDS ID A012904
Record type Site
Current site name Hot Air Bench (Columbia Mine)

Geographic coordinates

Geographic coordinates: -165.41106, 64.59817 (WGS84)
Relative position The Hot Air Bench placer is on the north side of lower Glacier Creek. The coordinates are for the approximate midpoint of an open-cut mine 900 feet north-northwest of the mouth of Snow Gulch on the Columbia claim of the Hot Air Mining Company (U.S. Mineral Survey No. 403). The bench placer trends west-southwest, subparallel to Glacier Creek. It is included in locality 101 of Cobb (1972 [MF 463], 1978 [OFR 78-93]). Hummel's (1962 [MF 247]) locality 7 is incorrect. The map location is in the NE1/4 section 26, T. 10 S., R. 34 W., Kateel River Meridian, and it is accurate to within 250 feet.
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Geographic areas

Country State
United States Alaska


Commodity Importance
Gold Primary
Silver Secondary

Materials information

Materials Type of material
Arsenopyrite Ore
Gold Ore

Mineral occurrence model information

Model code 119
USGS model code 39a
BC deposit profile C01. C02
Deposit model name Placer Au-PGE
Mark3 model number 54

Host and associated rocks

  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Unconsolidated Deposit > Gravel
  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Sedimentary Rock > Carbonate > Limestone
  • Host or associated Host
    Rock type Plutonic Rock > Granitoid > Granite

Nearby scientific data

(1) -165.41106, 64.59817

Comments on the geologic information

  • Geologic Description = The Hot Air Bench appears to be a true bench of Glacier Creek. It is approximately 100 feet vertically above and 900 feet horizontally north of Glacier Creek. Two claims of the Hot Air Mining Company were located May 28, 1899, and August 17, 1900; the claims were patented in 1902 (U.S. Mineral Survey No. 403). Apparently the bench channel was very well defined for about 400 to 500 feet. According to Collier and others (1908, p. 193-194), who were in the area in 1903, the channel was about 100 feet wide and had well-defined bedrock rims. The channel gravels were at a depth of about 20 feet. Pay gravels, largely of schist and marble, were about 4 to 5 feet thick and rested on chloritic schist bedrock. Gold was described as similar to that in Glacier Creek (NM220): fine, bright, and well rounded. The well-defined channel apparently played out to the west and turned toward Glacier Creek to the east. Moffit (1913, p. 85-86) reported veins as much as 6 inches thick in bedrock below the channel in the direction of Snow Gulch. He proposed that the source of the placer gold was local. Cathcart (1922, p. 243), in contrast, did not believe the gold was local, a conclusion that appears borne out by the character of the gold reported by Collier and others (1908). Cathcart (1922) also reported that the schist contained arsenopyrite.? the Hot Air Bench was extremely rich. Historic photographs show rows of gold bars cast from Hot Air gold. Collier and others (1908) reported that the production was 'not less than$600,000' (about 30,000 ounces of gold) and that pay in the best part of the channel ran about 2.5 ounces of gold per cubic yard. Assuming the fairly common 900 fineness value of placer gold in this area, the placer also produced about 3,000 ounces of silver. Collier and others (1908) also reported that placer gold was found higher on the slopes, a report consistent with the later discovery of the Ullrich placer (NM218) above and upstream of Hot Air Bench.
  • Age = Pleistocene.

Economic information

Economic information about the deposit and operations

Development status Past Producer
Commodity type Metallic

Comments on exploration

  • Status = Inactive

Mining district

District name Nome

Comments on the production information

  • Production Notes = Total production is believed to have been at least 600,000 dollars (gold at 20.67 dollars per ounce) or about 30,000 ounces of gold and 3,000 ounces of silver.

Comments on the workings information

  • Workings / Exploration = The first bench claims were located in 1899; mining commenced immediately. The claims were surveyed for patent in 1901, at which time there was a small open cut on the Columbia claim. The richest part of the placer was mined by 1903, when the area was visited by Collier and others (1908). The deposit was mainly mined hydraulically; gold was recovered in a narrow sluice set in the downstream section towards Glacier Creek.

Reference information

Links to other databases

Agency Database name Acronym Record ID Notes
USGS Mineral Resources Data System MRDS A012904
USGS Alaska Resource Data File ARDF NM219

Bibliographic references

  • Deposit

    Collier, A. J., Hess, F.L., Smith, P.S., and Brooks, A.H., 1908, The gold placers of parts of Seward Peninsula, Alaska, including the Nome, Council, Kougarok, Port Clarence, and Goodhope precincts: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 328, 343 p.

  • Deposit

    Moffit, F.H., 1913, Geology of the Nome and Grand Central quadrangles, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 533, 140 p.

  • Deposit

    Cathcart, S.H., 1922, Metalliferous lodes in southern Seward Peninsula: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 722, p. 163-261.

  • Deposit

    Hummel, C.L., 1962, Preliminary geologic map of the Nome C-1 quadrangle, Seward Peninsula, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-247, 1 sheet, scale 1:63,360.

  • Deposit

    Cobb, E.H., 1972, Metallic mineral resources map of the Nome quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-463, 2 sheets, scale 1:250,000.

  • Deposit

    Cobb, E.H., 1978, Summary of references to mineral occurrences (other than mineral fuels and construction materials) in the Nome quadrangle, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File report 78-93, 213 p.

Comments on the references

  • Primary Reference = Collier and others, 1908

General comments

Subject category Comment text
Deposit Model Name = Alluvial placer Au; elevated bench formed on ancestral Glacier Creek (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).

Reporter information

Type Date Name Affiliation Comment
Reporter 10-JUL-00 Hawley, C.C. Hawley Resource Group
Reporter 10-JUL-00 Travis L. Hudson Hawley Resource Group