Gold veins form instantly during earthquakes

Vastet
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Gold veins form instantly during earthquakes

By Richard A. Lovett and Nature magazine
Scientists have long known that veins of gold are formed by mineral deposition from hot fluids flowing through cracks deep in Earth’s crust. But a study published today in Nature Geoscience has found that the process can occur almost instantaneously — possibly within a few tenths of a second.

Weatherley and his co-author, geochemist Richard Henley at the Australian National University in Canberra, wondered what happens to fluids circulating through these fault jogs at the time of the earthquake.

What their calculations revealed was stunning: a rapid depressurization that sees the normal high-pressure conditions deep within Earth drop to pressures close to those we experience at the surface.

A magnitude-4 earthquake at a depth of 11 kilometers would cause the pressure in a suddenly opening fault jog to drop from 290 megapascals (MPa) to 0.2 MPa. (By comparison, air pressure at sea level is 0.1 MPa.) “So you’re looking at a 1,000-fold reduction in pressure."


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When mineral-laden water at

When mineral-laden water at around 390 °C is subjected to that kind of pressure drop, Weatherley says, the liquid rapidly vaporizes and the minerals in the now-supersaturated water crystallize almost instantly  — a process that engineers call flash vaporization or flash deposition. The effect, he says, “is sufficiently large that quartz and any of its associated minerals and metals will fall out of solution”.

Eventually, more fluid percolates out of the surrounding rocks into the gap, restoring the initial pressure. But that doesn’t occur immediately, and so in the interim a single earthquake can produce an instant (albeit tiny) gold vein.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=earthquakes-make-gold-veins-in-an-instant

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Interesting. Sounds like a

Interesting. Sounds like a method that could be recreated in a laboratory fairly cheaply compared to previous methods of making gold. Perhaps even cheap enough to make it worthwhile?  

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I don't know. The water that

I don't know. The water that evaporates is saturated with minerals. If you can get that water into a lab I'm sure the rest wouldn't be too hard. But I don't think you could just take any water and do this. You'd have to drill down at faultlines, and/or possibly volcanoes, and extract the water without cooling or depressurising it. I have no knowledge of how easy or hard that would be with today's tech.

I'm suddenly wondering more if there's a manufacturing potential here. If the process can be refined to put mineral deposits in prearranged and consistent patterns it could be rather useful in making electronic equipment.

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Vastet wrote:I don't know.

Vastet wrote:
I don't know. The water that evaporates is saturated with minerals. If you can get that water into a lab I'm sure the rest wouldn't be too hard. But I don't think you could just take any water and do this. You'd have to drill down at faultlines, and/or possibly volcanoes, and extract the water without cooling or depressurising it. I have no knowledge of how easy or hard that would be with today's tech. I'm suddenly wondering more if there's a manufacturing potential here. If the process can be refined to put mineral deposits in prearranged and consistent patterns it could be rather useful in making electronic equipment.

Well yeah, I was thinking that you would collect the water along the lines that we drill for oil. It seems to me that pumping water is a lot easier/cheaper/safer/environmentally friendly than building a mine. Take it to a factory where you can make the water to mineral proportions, temperature and pressure to whatever the ideal levels are. Makes sense to me, but there very well could be some reason it wouldn't work.  

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Lookin' at you Newton

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Spider veins also occur

Spider veins also occur suddenly with earthquakes. Think about it.

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