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ABSTRACT: Mineral Resources, Western Arctic Alaska

Thomas C. Mowatt, C. Gibson, J. Dygas

The area of interest encompasses northwestern Alaska, including the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA), as well as adjacent regions to the north, and west to the Chukchi Sea coast between Cape Seppings and Icy Cape. Continuing evaluation interpretation/synthesis of existing information indicate significant known and potential mineral resources.

The southern portions of the area are underlain by Mesozoic-Paleozoic age sedimentary rocks, with associated intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks. These are, in part, similar to the rocks that host the world-class Red Dog base and precious metals (Zn, Pb, Ag) deposit, adjacent to the southwestern portion of the study area. There are a number of analogous occurrences of mineralization known within the southern part of the study area (e.g., Drenchwater Creek, Kivliktort Mountain, Story Creek), as well as other showings and geochemical anomalies perhaps related to similar mineralization. Some associated rocks are phosphatic, frequently with elevated concentrations of uranium. A horizon of "bituminous rock/oil shale" also occurs within this rock sequence, characterized by elevated concen rations of precious and base metals. Occurrences of platinum, palladium, copper, and chromite are known associated with mafic-ultramafic rocks in places across the southern portion of the study area (Avan River, Misheguk Mountain, Siniktanneyak Mountain).

The Tertiary-Cretaceous rocks are geologically permissive for occurrence of uranium deposits.

The study area contains known mineral resources but remains to be investigated at a level required to elucidate potential and significance.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90097©1990 Fifth Circum-Pacific Energy and Mineral Resources Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 29-August 3, 1990