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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ancient Beach Lines

Nome forms the southern boundary of a 6 km wide coastal plain at the foot of glaciated hills.  A unique marine gold deposit is situated immediately offshore.   Gold was discovered in 1900 on the present day Nome Beach, which eventually led to a major onshore mining industry.  The total recorded onshore placer gold production from the immediate vicinity of Nome is over 5 million troy ounces thus far.  Evidence of glacial gold deposits extend on the seabed for nearly 5 km offshore in water depths of 20 meters and less.

Anvil Mountain and Newton Pike are situated within 7 to 12 km north of Nome.  They represent the original source of most of the placer gold in the Nome area.  As glaciers receded and the sea level rose, precious minerals were deposited.  Placer deposits are formed by natural stream concentrations of the metal after its liberation from host rocks by deep weathering and erosion. As the liberated gold moves downstream it eventually sifts through the loose stream bed to rest on bedrock.

The gold found offshore Nome is oriented parallel to the coast over an East-West distance of about 25 km.  The submerged beach lines have been identified up to 16 km offshore.

It has been the experience for the seasoned miners of Nome, Alaska to "follow the ancient beach lines" to find the best gold.  They have been (and continue to be) major sources of mined gold in the Nome area.

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