Alaska Gold Rush History and Genealogy




The Valdez Creek district is the area drained by the Susitna River above the mouth of the Talkeetna River and includes the Chulitna River basin.

The most extensive placer minin in the districts, and the only place where there has been significant activity since World War II, is at Valdez Creek (21), which drains an area underlain by metamorphosed sedimentary and volcanic rocks and by small felsic and mafic intrusive masses. Several small gold- and sulfide-bearing quartz veins are in the area, but only a small amount of ore was mined from them. These lodes, and similar ones that may now be buried beneath surficial deposits, were the probable source of the gold in the placers of Valdez Creek and its tributaries. Valdez Creek has a complex Pleistocene history marked by changes in local base level brought about by the interaction of small local glaciers and a large ice tongue in the Susitna Valley. Deposits in old channels discovered where the present course of the creek crosses them were the source of most of the gold mined, although the modern stream gravels also are auriferous. Recent work (T. E. Smith, 1970) demonstrated that not all of the old channels have been mined out and that a large volume of bench gravels near the mouth of Valdez Creek probably has a gold value of 50 cents to $1.20 per cubic yard. Using minimum tenor and volume figures, Smith estimated the potential value of the gold resources of the bench gravels (including unmined parts of old channels) to be more than $17 million (gold at $35 per ounce). Most of the mining on Valdez Creek was by drifting in buried channels and by hydraulic methods. Smaller scale operations were carried on intermittently in stream and bench gravels on White Creek (22), Lucky Gulch (22) and other tributaries of Valdez Creek. Minerals identified in concentrate samples in addition to gold include magnetite, pyrite, zircon, sphene, sillimanite, kyanite, galena, realgar, orpiment, and hessite, a silver telluride. Small amounts of gold were found in Gold (19), Wickersham (20) and other creeks. Although there are lode deposits in the area drained by the West Fork of the Chulitna River in the north-central part of the Valdez Creek district, including one that produced gold and copper ore, no valuable placers have been found. In the early 1900’s a little gold was recovered from Bryn Mawr (18) and Shot-gun (17) Creeks, but the results evidently were discouraging, as not even prospecting has been reported for many years. Most of the bars of the Susitna River below Gold Creek (16) carry minor concentrations of flour gold at or near the surface. In the southeastern part of the Valdez Creek district, gold is in the gravels of several creeks. Daisy Creek (28) which crosses a contact between Jurassic volcanic and clastic rocks, was worked on a small scale at several places in 1914. Placer deposits in the western part of the Valdez Creek district are geologically akin to neighboring deposits in the Yentna di and are discussed with them.


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