Nature and Science - Geology and Minerals

A study of the geology (landforms, rocks and minerals) of the Tongass and Chugach National Forests is foundational to our understanding of the forests. Geology reveals the history of the earth, including the landforms, rocks and minerals so prominent on the Tongass and Chugach. The surface and subsurface minerals provide valuable commodities for human use. Extraction of those minerals is not only significant today, but has been an integral activity in the history and development of both forests. Broken down, as components of soil, these minerals also provide basic nutrients and elements for forest plants and animals.

  • Mining in Alaska's National Forests - This one-page document outlines the history of exploration and extraction of minerals on the Tongass and Chugach National Forests, and an overview of current mining operations.
  • Alaska Geology Information- A collection of links pertaining to geology, minerals, and land records in Alaska. Five land and natural resource agencies in Alaska contribute information.
  • Alaska State Museum's "Alaska Gold" website - gives a good overview of the important role the search for gold played in the history of Alaska. Many communities on or near the Tongass and Chugach National Forests began as gold rush camps.


Rugged karst landscape of Prince of Wales Island


A mine vehicle crosses the bridge at the Greens Creek Mine on Admiralty Island