WHITE CREEK DISTRICT
The White Creek district, in northern Broadwater County northwest of Confederate Gulch, includes the drainage basins of White Creek, Avalanche Creek, and upper Magpie Gulch, all of which are tributaries of the Missouri River. Production of the district consists chiefly of placer gold and a small amount of lode copper. Gold was discovered in the gravel along White Creek in 1865, and the placers along the upper part of White Creek and Johnny Gulch, a tributary, were mined for about 20 years (Pardee and Schrader, 1933, p. 179). The deposits were rich but production data are not available. Johnny Gulch was mined for a mile or more, and below its mouth in White Creek, drift mining was undertaken for a mile or more. Based on the amount of gravel moved, Pardee (in Pardee and Schrader, 1933, p. 179) estimated the yield at about $1 to million worth of gold. The Avalanche Creek placers yielded at least $100,000 and Magpie Gulch yielded about $330,000 in gold (Lyden, 1948, p. 18, 73). Most of the production was before 1904; only a few ounces was reported in the 1920's and 1930's from desultory diggings along White Creek and Magpie Gulch. Total gold production through 1959 was between 68,000 and 92,000 ounces.
The country rock of the White Creek district is almost the same as in the Confederate Gulch district and consists of folded and faulted Precambrian and Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and intrusive diorite and quartz diorite, chiefly dikes, of Cretaceous or Tertiary age (Pardee and Schrader, 1933, pi. 15). The placer gold along White Creek was derived from the same gold quartz veins on Miller Mountain that supplied the gold of Confederate Creek (Pardee and Schrader, 1933, p. 162-163, 174, 179). The source of the placer gold in Magpie Gulch and its tributaries and in Avalanche Gulch is considered to be the quartz veins that are associated with diorite dikes in the area. (Lyden, 1948, p. 74; Pardee and Schrader, 1933, p. 179).
The Winston (Beaver Creek) mining district is in north Broadwater County in the drainage basin of Beaver Creek, a tributary of the Missouri River. Production of the district has come chiefly from lode mining of gold and mixed sulfide ores; placer gold mining, which began about 1866, has been relatively unimportant. According to Lyden (1948, p. 19), there is no record of placer mining since 1915.
The first lode was discovered in 1867 on the East Pacific property; there were other early discoveries, but apparently little mining was done until 10 to 20 years later (Pardee and Schrader, 1933, p. 211-212, 216). After 1900 the greatest activity was during 1908-18 and 1926-53. The district was idle from 1953 through 1959.
Early production records are fragmentary, but the production of precious and base metals through 1928 was estimated to be at least $3 million, of which about $2 million was mined before 1908 (Pardee and Schrader, 1933, p. 212). Though the amount of gold was not stated, it must have been a major constituent, especially of those ores that were oxidized. Total gold production through 1959 was worth about $2,750,000, of which 90 percent was from lodes and 10 percent from placers (M. R. Klepper, written commun., 1962). This amounts to roughly 106,000 ounces from lodes and 12,000 ounces from placers.
In the Winston district (Stone, 1911, pi. 3), small stocks of quartz monzonite of probable Late Cretaceous age intrude a thick sequence of andesite flows, tuffs, and breccias of Late Cretaceous age (M. R. Klepper, oral commun., 1962). The ore deposits are in quartz veins in the andesite and in quartz monzonite. The ore minerals are pyrite and locally occurring galena, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, or their oxidation products. Arsenopyrite and tetrahedrite are rare components (Pardee and Schrader, 1933, p. 214). Gold occurs in all the veins and is the main valuable constituent in oxidized ores; it is relatively less abundant in unoxidized ores, where it is associated with the sulfide minerals.
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