National Geographic : 1899 Jul
EXPLORATIONS IN ALASKA frozen; but to do this the expedition would have to leave Wash ington, D. C., in February. Another district carefully considered in the preparation of plans is the general region of northwestern Alaska tributary to Kotzebue sound. It is well known that many prospectors have penetrated into the interior from the eastern shore of Bering sea, and that geologic investigation would probably reveal the west ern extension of the Alaskan gold belt. But all information available as to modes of travel and native routes prove to be of so vague a character as to render it advisable to obtain more def inite information through exploration this summer before plan ning for the development of that region. Still other plans were proposed and considered, but the final selection determined that two parties should be sent out by the U. S. Geological Survey, one into the region north of the St Elias range, and to proceed westward between the Tanana and Yukon rivers; the other to the headwaters of the Koyukuk river, within the Arctic circle. The object of both of these expeditions is the exploration of little known areas for the purpose of adding to geographic knowledge, but they differ in the scope of the work proposed, as our present knowledge of the two districts is very unequal. The first mentioned party under Mr W. T. Peters, topogra pher, accompanied by Mr Alfred H. Brooks, geologist, pro vided with a pack-train of horses, will cross Chilkoot pass and pursue the Dalton trail for some distance. At a convenient point they will diverge to the west along the northern flanks of the St Elias range. It is expected that in their westward route they will determine the northern limits of ancient and modern glaciation from the range; that they will ascertain the position of the headwaters of the White and Tanana and Copper rivers and bring out a fairly accurate recognizance map of this unknown region. On striking the divide between the Tanana and White rivers, at the point where these same explorers last year crossed from one to the other, they will proceed northwestward into a comparatively well-known area, lying between the Tanana and Yukon. In this locality gold-bearing rocks are extensively de veloped and have been generally prospected. Maps of the area are, however, lacking, and it is the purpose of this ex pedition to prepare as thorough a map as the limits of the sea son will permit. Throughout the route careful geologic as well as topographic observations will be made, and it is expected that our knowledge of Alaskan geology will be greatly extended.