Striking gold: Earthquakes deposit precious metal

Mar 17, 2013
Gold nuggets on display on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California. Solid gold can be deposited in Earth's crust "almost instantaneously" during earthquakes, said a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Sunday.

Solid gold can be deposited in Earth's crust "almost instantaneously" during earthquakes, said a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Sunday.

The gold is formed when a tremor splits open a fluid-filled cavity in the Earth's crust, causing a sudden drop in pressure, according to a team of Australian researchers.

This, in turn, causes the fluid to expand rapidly and evaporate, and any that had been dissolved in it to "precipitate almost immediately", said a Nature press release.

"Repeated earthquakes could therefore lead to the build up of economic-grade gold deposits."

The researchers said much of the world's known gold was derived from quartz veins that were formed during geological periods of mountain building as long as three billion years ago.

The veins formed during earthquakes, but the magnitude of or how they drove gold mineralisation were not known.

For this study, researchers used a to simulate the drop in pressure experienced in a fluid-filled fault cavity during an earthquake.

In so doing, they answered a long-standing question about the world's gold resources—how the metal becomes so concentrated from a highly dissolved state to a solid, mineable one.

The study said single tremors would not generate economically viable , which were built up one thin coating at a time.

To form a 100 tonne gold vein deposit would take less than 100,000 years, the team wrote.

Explore further: Cordilleran terrane collage

More information: Paper: dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1759

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gwrede
3.7 / 5 (12) Mar 17, 2013
Gold is formed ... in quarts veins.
Sigh.
Infinum
1 / 5 (5) Mar 17, 2013
In other words once humans mine most of accessible gold deposits, new ones won't be recreated for the next 100k years.

Even-though we are probably still far away from depletion of current gold veins, I would say this puts a rather hard constraint on gold available in the future.

I wonder how much minable gold is currently out there, anyone?
Dr_toad
not rated yet Mar 17, 2013
What I find so interesting is the interlocking chemistry of things.

Have a look around for the Oklo reactor.
Requiem
1 / 5 (6) Mar 17, 2013
Let's buy the brown part of Australia and spend a decade or two nuking the crap out of it's fault lines :D

Glow-in-the-dark gold!
Job001
2.2 / 5 (9) Mar 18, 2013
The earth: 5.9E24kg x 5ppb = 3E16kg gold.

Divided by 7 E9 people is 4,000,000 kg per person on earth, so obviously it's worthless!

Like money, it's a fiat figment of fiendish foolishness.

The dead metaphor for life(work paid in gold) has no significance beyond life.
I'll leave my share in the earth for you to salivate over like rabid dogs do.
TheKnowItAll
1 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2013
infinum: Aug 2012; USGS now estimates are that there are only 51,000 tons of gold left below ground (or 20 years worth at current production level.) But of course those are just estimates. The Earth's core has a lot more of precious metals but it's pretty far down so we have to wait for it to pop up if it ever does...This link has some interesting facts about gold. http://www.number...ds-gold/
YawningDog
not rated yet Mar 18, 2013
That web site is all fluff to keep the price of gold high. If you want a real idea of how much gold there is in the world read "Gold Warriors" by Sterling & Peggy Seagrave.

It will take your breath away.
CapitalismPrevails
1 / 5 (5) Mar 18, 2013
In other words once humans mine most of accessible gold deposits, new ones won't be recreated for the next 100k years.

Even-though we are probably still far away from depletion of current gold veins, I would say this puts a rather hard constraint on gold available in the future.

I wonder how much minable gold is currently out there, anyone?


I wonder how much mineable silver is out there... I expect silver to explode in price relative to gold.
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 18, 2013
Even-though we are probably still far away from depletion of current gold veins, I would say this puts a rather hard constraint on gold available in the future.

We have barely scratched the surface of the Earth's crust. And the main problem of going deeper is that currently we rely on people to be down there.
That may not be the case forever. With robotics there is no reason to think we cannot go a couple of kilometers deeper.

At current prices it is almost worth it to extract gold from seawater. (Though the reason no one is doing it is because as soon as someone makes it happen gold prices will plummet, and the process will become not economically viable anymore )

What I find so interesting is the interlocking chemistry of things. Have a look around for the Oklo reactor.

Oklo wasn't chemistry. That was fission.
Hev
not rated yet Mar 18, 2013
Thanks for the links. Topical. Gold seems to have been money since the last ice age at least, but I don't have hardly any, even my wedding ring is only 9 ct. Nice to know where it is, seems to be in some places where people still like to have gold teeth.
Julian Alien
1 / 5 (4) Mar 24, 2013
So that is it. The official word on how gold is formed, and coming from a spineless British colony. I hear they can't even make guns much less shoot them. I have a message for these primates from down under. OOGA BOOGA.