Present (First) Beach

Producer in Alaska, United States with commodities Gold, Silver

Geologic information

Identification information

Deposit ID 10100997
MRDS ID A012960
Record type Site
Current site name Present (First) Beach

Geographic coordinates

Geographic coordinates: -165.42937, 64.49928 (WGS84)
Relative position Present Beach is the active beach along the coast of Norton Sound near Nome. It extends southeast for about 12 miles from the mouth of Snake River to Cape Nome and northwest about 18 miles from Snake River to Quartz Creek in the Nome C-3 quadrangle (NM159).? The most important part of the Present Beach placer was approximately centered on the mouth of Snake River (as in figure 7, Collier and others, 1908) and is in the Nome C-1 and B-1 quadrangles. The map location is where Present Beach crosses the boundary between the Nome C-1 and B-1 quadrangles. It is near the west end of the south edge of section 26, T. 11 S., R. 34 W., Kateel River Meridian. Present Beach is locality 142 of Cobb (1972 [MF 463], 1978 [OFR 78-93]).
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Geographic areas

Country State
United States Alaska


Commodity Importance
Gold Primary
Silver Secondary

Materials information

Materials Type of material
Gold Ore
Ilmenite Ore
Limonite Ore
Pyrite Ore
Garnet Gangue

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 > Sand and Gravel
    Stratigraphic age (youngest) Holocene

Nearby scientific data

(1) -165.42937, 64.49928

Comments on the geologic information

  • Geologic Description = Gold was discovered in Present Beach in 1899, about one year after the discovery of alluvial gold in Anvil and other creeks. Geologist A.H. Brooks of the U. S. Geological Survey examined the deposits in 1899 and 1900 and provided a first-hand scientific account of the beach (Brooks and others, 1901, p. 85-91). According to Brooks, ' . . . The lowest bench of the coastal plain ends in an escarpment, 10 to 20 feet high on the seaward side. From the base of the escarpment the beach slopes to the sea at an angle of 4 to 5 [degrees], having a width of 50 to 75 yards. Ordinarily the wave action is confined to the lower third, but during severe storms the surf sometimes rolls up the full width of the beach. . . . The beach sand consists largely of quartz, usually stained with iron, and mica and chlorite schist fragments. Reddish garnets form an important constituent, sometimes predominating. . . . Magnetite is always present, but usually forms less than 1 per cent by weight, though in the concentrated form found in the pay streaks it may run as high as 10 per cent.' Brooks' associate, A. J. Collier, found that most of the beach material was coarser than 60 mesh and that garnet constituted about 4 to 5 per cent by weight.? Most of the placer formed on or above a blue clay substrate that dipped slightly more steeply than the beach, so that clay often was commonly found at a depth of about 5 to 7 feet half-way down the beach. The pay occurred as thin lenses that rarely could be traced for more than a few hundred feet. The maximum thickness of pay lenses was about 3 feet. The average paystreak sands were somewhat finer than the average beach sands and contained more of the denser minerals.? Gold was generally fine grained; some small nuggets weighed as much as 0.05 ounce. The gold was about 890 fine and flaky, and it amalgamated readily. Schrader and Brooks (1900) proposed that the major part of the gold in the beach placers was derived by wave action and concentration of underlying, weakly auriferous and largely unconsolidated material, a mechanism generally accepted by later geologists such as Metcalfe and Tuck (1942).? At the time of the Collier report on activities through 1906 (Collier and others, 1908), beach production totaled about 2,000,000 dollars, or somewhat less than 100,000 ounces at the 20.67 dollars per ounce price of gold. Most of this was derived from the central part of Present Beach, and about one-half was produced in the discovery year (1899). About 350,000 dollars worth of gold (17,000 ounces) was mined in 1900, and production continued to decline thereafter. To some extent, gold concentrations of Present Beach are replenished by winter storms each year, and a small production continues to the present (2000).
  • Age = Holocene.

Economic information

Economic information about the deposit and operations

Development status Producer
Commodity type Metallic

Comments on exploration

  • Status = Active

Mining district

District name Nome

Comments on the production information

  • Production Notes = The most important year of production was 1899, when about 1,000,000 dollars, or about 50,000 ounces of gold were recovered. About 350,000 dollars, or 17,000 ounces of gold were recovered in 1900. Some production continues (2000) and can be expected to continue almost indefinitely. Total production is probably about 100,000 ounces of gold.

Comments on the workings information

  • Workings / Exploration = Gold on Present Beach was discovered in 1899, and production began immediately. Approximately half of the total production from this beach occurred in 1899 (about 1,000,000 dollars or about 50,000 ounces). About 350,000 dollars or 17,000 ounces of gold were recovered from the beach in 1900. Probably at least 80 percent of the total production came from the part of the beach near Nome. At first, mining was by pan and rockers, but gold was also mined with pump and sluice setups, essentially all by hand shovel-in methods (Schrader and Brooks, 1900; Brooks and others, 1901; Collier and others, 1908; Metcalfe and Tuck, 1942).

Reference information

Links to other databases

Agency Database name Acronym Record ID Notes
USGS Mineral Resources Data System MRDS A012960
USGS Alaska Resource Data File ARDF NM255

Bibliographic references

  • Deposit

    Schrader, F.C., and Brooks, A.H., 1900, Preliminary report on the Cape Nome gold region, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Special Publication, 56 p.

  • Deposit

    Brooks, A.H., Richardson, G. B., and Collier, A. J., 1901, Reconnaissance in the Cape Nome and Norton Bay regions, Alaska, in 1900: U.S. Geological Survey Special Publication, p. 1-180.

  • 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

    Metcalfe, J.B., and Tuck, Ralph, 1942, Placer gold deposits of the Nome district, Alaska: Report for U.S. Smelting, Refining, and Mining Co., 175 p.

  • 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 = Brooks and others, 1901

General comments

Subject category Comment text
Deposit Model Name = Beach placer Au (Cox and Singer, 1986; model 39a).
Deposit Model Number = 39, strandline marine placer

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