A Second Look at Canada's Yukon: Great Potential for Small-Scale Miners (Part 3)
(Old timer in the Yukon back in the day...)
I now continue with my series on gold in the Yukon Territory of Canada and the potential that this area holds for small-scale placer miners:
Un-Glaciated Placer Areas
In previous posts of this series I mentioned that placer gold deposits in the Yukon Territory were either associated with glacial drifts, advances, and retreats (glaciated activity) during the pre-Reid, Reid, or McConnell periods or were formed from un-glaciated geological dynamics associated with the Quaternary epoch. Both types of placer gold deposits are found in the Yukon and both can hold rich gold-bearing gravels.
Here are the main un-glaciated placer gold areas of the Yukon:
Combined Klondike/Sixtymile/Fortymile Areas
Perhaps the most famous un-glaciated placer gold area of the Yukon is the Klondike. Extremely rich placer gold deposits here triggered the famous Klondike Gold Rush of 1898-1899, the last great rush of the 19th Century. All of the gold deposits in this region (including the Sixtymile and Fortymile areas) share similar characteristics in terms of gold sources and their overall geological setting.
The richest placer deposits here occur in valley bottoms, broad alluvial fans at the base of hills and ridges, gulches and streambeds, and in terrace gravels. These placers never get "worked out" in the strictest sense of the term since continual uplift, weathering, and re-concentration take place to replenish the gold in these three combined areas.
Moosehorn Range Area
Most of the un-glaciated placer gold in the Moosehorn Range is derived from vein material eroding out of ridges rising above the creeks and gulches in the area. Gulch gravels can show good concentrations or paystreaks of placer gold, especially higher up the ridges. In the alluvial fans resting below the ridges in the Moosehorn, gold values tend to be spread out and erratic at best.
Stewart River Area
Interestingly enough, some of the Stewart River area placers cut across glaciated placers and then back into un-glaciated terrain. In isolated instances, these "crossovers" can increase recoverable gold values exponentially, so miners and prospectors in the area should be on the look out for these.
(Commercial placer mining operation in the Stewart River area.)
Point and channel gravel bars in the Stewart river area tend to hold good placer gold concentrations as do older stream channels and oxbows where stream courses have changed and left these locations "high and dry," so to speak. All feeder streams and gulches in the Stewart River area will be carrying varying amounts of placer gold as well.
That's it for this round. I wish all my Canadian mining friends continued success out there.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Gold Mining Questions and Answers: Part 1"
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2011
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org