Earthquakes turn water into gold
2013 03 18

From: CBC



Research reveals high-pressure origin of precious metal

Gold could be deposited almost instantaneously in the Earth’s crust during earthquakes, say Australian researchers.

The researchers have found gold is formed when an earthquake widens a fluid-filled rock fracture, causing a drop in pressure, which in turn allows gold dissolved in the fluid to rapidly leach out.

Their study, reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, explains how the metal changes from a soluble state to concentrated deposits.

"[This process] may underpin the formation of up to 80 per cent of the world’s gold deposits," they write.

Much of the world’s gold is found in quartz veins that formed during periods of mountain building up to three billion years ago and was deposited by large volumes of water along deep, seismically active faults.

The veins were formed under fluctuating pressures during earthquakes, but until now, the magnitude of these pressure shifts and how they influence the formation of gold was unknown.

Dr. Dion Weatherley of the University of Queensland and Professor Richard Henley from the Australian National University, developed a mathematical model to see how different earthquake magnitudes affect fluid-filled rock fractures.

They found that a sudden drop in pressure in the fracture causes the fluid inside to expand and vaporise — a process known as flash vaporization.

"The change in the volume of the fracture causes a change in fluid pressure," explains Weatherley.

"The fluid becomes supersaturated at the low pressures and the various minerals that are dissolved will precipitate out very rapidly."

Gold deposits build up

Different minerals are known to precipitate out of fluids at specific pressures.

Weatherley and Henley found the ability of minerals to dissolve out of the water grew quickly even for relatively small earthquakes.

While a single event may not deposit significant levels of gold, successive earthquakes in the same area can cause a build up of these deposits within the fracture eventually leading to economically viable gold concentrations, say the researchers.

The bulk of gold mined today has been found where deposits are exposed on or near the surface.

According to Weatherley, geologists believe they’ve explored the majority of the dry part of the planet, and now have to start looking for deposits which are hidden in deeper parts of the crust.

That requires more knowledge on the geological processes that have been occurring in that part of the world.

"When we know what forms a deposit, we can go looking for ancillary tell-tale signs of where those kind of mechanisms may have been occurring both in the recent past and through geological time," says Weatherley.

"This may assist in future gold exploration efforts."

Article from: cbc.ca



Related Articles
Is the New Madrid Mega Quake Being Engineered?
Did US secret weapons cause Japan’s earthquake and tsunami?
7.7 Earthquake Hits Where The Geoengineering Experiment Took Place
Mysterious El Dorado - A Place, or a Person?
Germany Repatriating Gold from the New York Federal Reserve
An Afghan Mystery: Why Are Large Shipments of Gold Leaving the Country?
Using insects to search for gold


Latest News from our Front Page

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »