Long thought to be a slow process, a new study published in Nature Geoscience says that gold veins are produced in an instant by earthquakes.
Scientists have long known that veins of gold and other precious minerals form around fault lines, but it was generally thought that this process took an extremely long time.
However, the new study shows that quick changes in pressure could cause the gold to form, essentially, instantaneously.
“We find that cavity expansion generates extreme reductions in pressure that cause the fluid that is trapped in the jog to expand to a very low-density vapour,” study authors Dion K. Weatherley and Richard W. Henley write in their journal abstract.
From Scientific American:
For example, 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…
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