Anvil Creek

Producer in Alaska, United States with commodities Gold, Silver, Lead, Tungsten

Geologic information

Identification information

Deposit ID 10308961
MRDS ID A012906
Record type Site
Current site name Anvil Creek
Related records 10208901, 10002057

Geographic coordinates

Geographic coordinates: -165.41867, 64.56298 (WGS84)
Relative position This record describes the Anvil Creek system of placer gold deposits upstream of the Nome coastal plain. The map location is on the discovery claim, just west of the center of section 2, T. 11 S., R. 34 W., Kateel River Meridian. The site is approximately the same as locality 102 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
Lead Secondary
Tungsten Secondary

Materials information

Materials Type of material
Galena Ore
Gold Ore
Magnetite Ore
Scheelite 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

Nearby scientific data

(1) -165.41867, 64.56298

Comments on the geologic information

  • Geologic Description = Placer gold was discovered on lower Anvil Creek at an elevation of about 150 feet on September 22, 1898; by the end of 1898, the creek was staked between the coastal plain and Nekula Gulch (U.S. Mineral Survey plats, especially No. 722). The discoverers were the principals of the Pioneer Mining Company, Lindeberg, Lindblom, and Brynteson, and their associates. One claim, Nine Above, was initially proposed to be staked for Eskimos named Gabriel Adams and Constantine Uparazuck in recognition of their aid. The claim was otherwise staked and litigation over Nine Above lasted for decades. The operators recovered about 100 ounces of gold soon after their discovery, but it was to late in the season for intensive mining (Collier and others, 1908, p. 17-18). Intensive mining began in 1899; nuggets weighing between 20 and 25 ounces were found, and in 1900 about 1,750,000 dollars (85,000 ounces) worth of placer gold was produced on Anvil Creek. Cumulative production from discovery until the end of 1900 was estimated at 3,000,000 dollars or about 145,000 ounces of fine gold (Schrader and Brooks, 1900, p. 17; Brooks and others, 1901, p. 69, 71-74). The valley bottom placer was nearly exhausted by the end of 1902 (Collier and others, 1908, p. 31). The width of pay ranged from about 50 feet in the lower canyon to as much as 500 feet above Specimen Gulch. In the canyon, the pay gravel was 3 to 5 feet thick under a thin cover of muck and clay. Most of the gold was on bedrock, but it occurred throughout the gravel and in the top 1 to 2 feet of bedrock. By 1902, bench deposits were being mined (Brooks, 1903), especially on the east side of Anvil Creek (Collier and others, 1908, see figure 11, p. 189). The first hydraulic lifts were installed in about 1903, and a steam shovel was in use by 1904 (Brooks, 1905). Engineer C.W. Purington presented data on mining costs and methods and reported that gold from the bench gravels was very slightly purer than gold from the creeks; most of the gold was very close to 900 fine (Purington, 1905). Dredging of previously mined ground was introduced by 1922 (Brooks and Capps, 1924) and lasted until about 1929 (Smith, 1932). Two east-side benches were channels incised in bedrock. In places gold-bearing gravels spilled over the downhill bedrock rims of the channels, and bench placer pay mingled with the creek channel placers. In one cut, granitic boulders as well as a 40-pound galena nugget were found (Collier and others, 1908, p. 191). Placer gold in Anvil Creek had multiple sources. Some could have been derived from mineralized bedrock exposed on Banner Peak, Bonanza Hill, and the saddle between Anvil Creek and Snow Gulch. Much of the gold, however, apparently came from high-level placers near Nekula Gulch at the head of Anvil Creek. Mining of rich bench deposits on the east side of upper Anvil Creek took place until World War II (Smith, 1941, 1942). Mining commenced again on a moderate scale after the
  • Geologic Description = increase of gold price in 1968, especially in the bowl between Nekula and Specimen Gulches. From 1993 until at least 1995, virgin bench deposits on the east side were mined by open-cut methods. These deposits and some of those in upper Anvil Creek could not be mined in earlier years because of conflicts with water supply, roads, and railroads. The shallow placers exploited early in the history of Anvil Creek probably averaged about 0.25 ounce of gold per cubic yard; some contained as much as 2.5 ounces of gold per cubic yard. Production in the first five years was about 1,000,000 dollars per year, or a total of about 250,000 ounces. The largest nugget reported was a gold-quartz nugget containing about 129 ounces of gold (Moffit, 1913, p. 79-83). Total production to date is probably about 500,000 ounces. The Anvil Creek fault zone transects the area more or less along Anvil Creek. This fault is a through-going, high-angle structure that juxtaposes different types of graphitic schist in this area (Hummel, 1962 [MF 247]). Bedrock is mostly graphitic schist that probably of early Paleozoic protolith age (Hummel, 1962 [MF-247]; Sainsbury, Hummel, and Hudson, 1972 [OFR 72-326]; Till and Dumoulin, 1994; Bundtzen and others, 1994).
  • Age = Quaternary; parts of Anvil Creek are at low enough elevations to have been influenced by Quaternary sea-level fluctuations.

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 = Anvil Creek is a major gold producer in the Nome mining district; the estimated total gold production is 500,000 ounces.

Comments on the workings information

  • Workings / Exploration = Gold was discovered on Anvil Creek in September, 1898, and by the end of the year all of Anvil Creek between the coastal plain and Nekula Gulch was staked. From 1899 to 1902, rich and shallow alluvial deposits were mined, mostly by small-scale methods. Production from bench deposits began by 1903; they were mined partly by hydraulic elevators and partly by mechanical-hydraulic methods. Anvil Creek was dredged from about 1922 until 1932. In the 1930's, bench pay was mined, including the bench deposits near Specimen Gulch. In the 1990's, virgin ground was mined above Specimen Gulch and between Specimen Gulch and the coastal plain on the east side of Anvil Creek. These deposits could not be mined earlier because of land or water conflicts.

Reference information

Links to other databases

Agency Database name Acronym Record ID Notes
USGS Alaska Resource Data File ARDF NM236
USGS Mineral Resources Data System MRDS A012906
USGS Mineral Resources Data System MRDS D002851

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

    Brooks, A.H., 1903, Placer gold mining in Alaska in 1902: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 213, p. 41-48.

  • Deposit

    Brooks, A.H., 1904, Placer mining in Alaska in 1903: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 225, p. 43-59.

  • Deposit

    Brooks, A.H., 1905, Placer mining in Alaska in 1904: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 259, p. 18-31.

  • Deposit

    Purington, C.W., 1905, Methods and costs of gravel and placer mining in Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 263, 273 p.

  • 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

    Brooks, A.H. and Capps, S.R., 1924, Mineral industry in Alaska, 1922: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 755, p. 1-56.

  • Deposit

    Smith, P.S., 1932, Mineral industry of Alaska in 1929, in Smith, P.S., and others Mineral resources of Alaska, report on progress of investigations in 1929: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 824-A, p. 1-81.

  • 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

    Sainsbury, C.L., Hummel, C.L., and Hudson, Travis, 1972, Reconnaissance geologic map of the Nome quadrangle, Seward Peninsula, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 72-326, 28 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000.

  • 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.

  • Deposit

    Till, A.B., and Dumoulin, J.A, 1994, Geology of Seward Peninsula and St. Lawrence Island, in Plafker, G., and Berg, H.C., eds., The Geology of Alaska: Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America, DNAG, v. G-1, p. 141-152.

  • Deposit

    Bundtzen, T.K., Reger, R.D., Laird, G.M., Pinney, D.S., Clautice, K.H., Liss, S.A., and Cruse, G.R., 1994, Progress report on the geology and mineral resources of the Nome mining district: Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Public Data-File 94-39, 21 p., 2 sheets, scale 1:63,360.

Comments on the references

  • Primary Reference = Collier and others, 1908

General comments

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

Reporter information

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