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OverSword

Earthquakes turn water to gold

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From the article:

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."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/03/18/earthquakes-water-gold.html

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This may explain the large gold deposits in California and Alaska that were discovered when western civilization first explored them.

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