National Geographic : 1902 Apr
PROPOSED SURVEYS IN ALASKA IN 1902 BY ALFRED H. BROOKS, U. S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY SINCE 1898 the United States Geo logical Survey has been making systematic geologic and topo graphic surveys of Alaska. The annual appropriation by Congress for this work has been recently increased from twenty five thousand to sixty thousand dollars in order to extend the investigation of Alaska's mineral resources. This in crease has not been adequate to the needs of the work. The mineral inter ests have developed so rapidly in the past few years, and surveys in this dis tant province are so expensive, that it has been impossible with only sixty thousand dollars yearly to satisfy many of the urgent demands for work in various parts of the territory. For three years past special attention has been given to the placer gold region of Nome, and the larger part of this area has been surveyed and investigated in some detail. The Koyukuk gold fields have also received considerable attention. In both of these fields, how ever, there is still much reconnaissance work to be done, besides the detailed work yet to be begun. Unfortunately, there is no money for the work to be carried on in these regions this coming season. Southeastern Alaska is rapidly forg ing ahead in mineral production, and there are pressing demands on the Geo logical Survey for topographic and geo logic surveys in this area. During the season of 1901 it was im possible to continue the work of the previous year in the Copper River basin. in view of the importance of this area, it is deemed desirable to spend there a large part of this year's appropriation. The copper deposits of the Chitina River, a tributary of the Copper, have excited a great deal of interest among miners and capitalists. There have been many parties outfitted to prospect this region, and some preliminary de velopment has been made. Prospecting has also been done in a second copper belt in the northern part of the Copper River and in the upper Tanana and White River basins. These two belts are to be the subject of special investi gation during the coming season. The Chistochina gold fields, also included in the Copper River basin, have become important producers of placer gold. A survey of their entire area is contem plated. The surveys of the Copper River basin will also throw a good deal of light on the proposed railway route from Valdes to the Yukon River, and they will cover large areas which are believed to have value for stock raising and for cultivation. The work in this region has been divided. One party will be in charge of Mr. F. C. Schrader, geologist, with Mr. D. C. Witherspoon, topographer, and the other will be in charge of Mr. T. C. Ger dine, topographer, with Mr. Walter C. Mendenhall, geologist. Mr. Schrader's party will map the upper Copper River basin and adjacent portions of the Tanana basin. They will connect the previous surveys of the Tanana River with those of the Copper and give special attention to the upper northern belt. Mr. Gerdine's party will map the Chistochina gold fields and will give attention to the southern copper belt, which was studied in 1goo by Messrs. Schrader and Spencer. The outfit and provisions for these two parties were shipped north in the latter part of Feb ruary, and were transported across the coast range by a party led by Mr. D. C. * Published by permission of the Director of the U. S Geological Survey.