Alaska Gold Rush History and Genealogy


Council Alaska Mning District



US Geological Paper 610

COUNCIL DISTRICT The Council district, in the southern part of the Seward Peninsula, includes all the drainage area of Golovnin Bay extending eastward almost to the Tubutulik River. Although gold had been reported in the Council area as early as 1865, there was very little excitement and no mining until after the discoveries of the rich Ophir Creek gravels in 1896-97 (Smith and Eakin, 1910, p. 343). Production began in 1900, and the district was still active in 1959. Total production through 1959 was about 588,000 ounces, all from placers. Data for 1931-46 are incomplete. Nearly all production came from creek gravels and bench deposits in the drainage basin of the Niukluk River-including Ophir, Melsing, Goldbottom, Mystery, and Elkhorn Creeks (Collier and others, 1908, p. 238). The following summary of the geology is from Collier, Hess, Smith, and Brooks (1908, p. 234-235). The district is underlain by rocks of the Kigluaik Group and the Nome Group, except in the southeast where part of a large granite mass forms the bedrock. Schists of the Nome Group contain numerous small veins and stringers of quartz and calcite, many of which contain gold along with sulfides. The gold of the placers is believed to have come from these veins.

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