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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gold Occurrences in Alaska

Gold is found throughout Alaska, and the resources are as vast as the land itself. One of the prominent features found in Alaska is the Tintina Gold Province (TGP) an arching curve that extends all the way from northern British Columbia, the southwestern part of the Yukon Territory and crosses the entire state of Alaska where it finally vanishes into the sea northwest of Anchorage. This gold belt has produced several gold rushes over the years probably the most famous is the Klondike Gold Rush that occurred in the late 1890s.

A gold dredge working on the TGP
Photo by Chris Lot

The TGP covers roughly 150,000 km² that is bounded on the north by the Kaltag Tintina fault and on the south by the Farewell-Denali fault. Geologically it could be considered a suture zone where one tectonic plate collided with another one. Throughout most of this vast area you can only find a few roads one of which is the famous Alcan Highway that goes to Fairbanks. The apex of the TGP arc is just about centered on Fairbanks, Alaska. Altogether the TGP is one of largest gold provinces in the world at 1200 km long and about 200 km wide.

The Tintina Gold Belt superimposed on a Landsat image.   USGS

The regional climate that is associated with the TGP is generally subarctic that includes several different physiographic regions and ecoregions like that Yukon-Tanana upland, the Yukon River low lands and the Kuskokwin Mountains.

Geologically Alaska is made up of several different terranes with the Tintina gold belt being only one of many. Although the TGP is the largest one in Alaska gold can be found throughout the state. Most of the Gold that has been recovered in the TGP to date has been placer gold, but new methods of mining and metallurgy have allowed some previously known deposits to be brought online.

Virtually all of the known gold deposits in the state have already been staked, but it is still possible in the state of Alaska to buy or lease a claim. There is a lot of information about doing this on the Internet. We put into our web browser, “Mining claims for sale in Alaska” and had more than 9,600,000 hits.


In addition to the gold deposits found in the TGP that also contains many other deposits of Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide (VGM) minerals. Some of the other metals that are produced in the TGP include copper, lead, zinc and tungsten.





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