Alaska is commonly regarded as one of the frontiers of North America for the discovery of metalliferous mineral deposits. A recurring theme in the history of the state has been “rushes” or “stampedes” to sites of newly discovered deposits. Since about 1965, mining companies have undertaken much exploration for lode and placer mineral deposits. During the same period, because of the considerable interest in federal lands in Alaska and the establishment of new national parks, wildlife refuges, and native corporations, extensive studies of mineral deposits and of the mineral resource potential of Alaska have been conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Bureau of Mines, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys. These studies have resulted in abundant new information on Alaskan mineral deposits. In the same period, substantial new geologic mapping has also been completed with the help of new logistical and technical tools. One result of the geologic mapping and associated geologic studies is the recognition of numerous faultbounded assemblages of rocks designated as tectonostratigraphic (lithotectonic) terranes. This concept indicates that most of Alaska consists of a collage of such terranes (Silberling and others, this volume, Plate 3).
The purpose of this report is to summarize the local geology, geologic setting, and metallogenesis of the major metalliferous lode deposits and placer districts of Alaska. The term “major mineral deposit” is defined as a mine, mineral deposit with known reserve, prospect, or occurrence that the authors judged significant for any given geographic region. This report is
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You get a comprehensive overview of the geology, tectonic evolution, and mineral resources of Alaska and adjacent areas of the continental margin. Plates include state-wide maps showing geology, physiography, lithotectonic terranes, metamorphic rocks, igneous rocks, sedimentary basins, isotopic age data, neotectonics, isostatic gravity, magnetics, and metallic mineral deposits. Summaries of bedrock geology and geologic history are given for eleven large regions of Alaska and adjacent offshore areas. Twenty topical chapters synthesize data on metamorphic and igneous rocks; major onshore and offshore sedimentary basins; the paleomagnetics evidence for latitudinal displacements and rotations, glacial history and periglacial phenomena; and the occurrence, evolution, and potential of Alaska's vast resources of petroleum, coal, and metallic minerals. A summary chapter provides an overview and presents a possible model for Alaska's Phanerozoic evolution. The Geology of Alaska is the largest publication produced in the Decade of North American Geology program, a fitting tribute to this magnificent area.