Under natural conditions, gold veins are usually formed over tens to hundreds of thousands of years, but sometimes the “high quality” gold veins can form in years, months, or even days. How does this phenomenon happen so quickly?
By studying examples of these deposits from the “Brooks Jack” mine in northwestern British Columbia, Canada, scientists revealed through a study published in the journal “Banas”, published by the National Academy of Sciences of America, that these gold deposits are very similar to milkshakes. .
The study, prepared by scientists from McGill University in Canada, shows that when milk becomes sour (buttermilk), particles of butterfat come together to form a jelly.
Gold deposits are formed when hot water flows through the rocks, causing minute amounts of gold to dissolve and concentrate in cracks in the earth’s crust at levels invisible to the naked eye.
In rare cases, the cracks turn into veins of centimeters thick of pure gold, but how do rare deposits of high-quality gold be produced from liquids containing low concentrations of gold?
How is gold formed?
For his part, Duncan McLeish, the lead researcher in the study, tries to answer this question, saying: “Our findings reveal the paradox of the formation of” high-quality “gold or” bonanza “, which has been a great mystery among scientists for more than a century.
“The paradox of the massive gold deposits that we found is that there is simply not enough time for them to form, and it is normal for them not to exist, but the reality says that they do exist,” he says.
McLeish continues with some explanation: “Because the concentration of gold in hot water is so low, very large quantities of liquids need to flow through the cracks in the earth’s crust to deposit mineralized concentrations of gold, and this process requires millions of years to fill a crack a centimeter wide with gold. While these cracks usually close in days, months or years. “
Anthony E. Williams-Jones of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at McGill University, a co-author of the study, continues to clarify the image, saying: “Using a powerful electron microscope to observe particles in thin slices of rocks, we discovered that the accumulated gold deposits consist of a liquid very similar to milk.”
He explains this phenomenon: “Milk consists of small particles of butterfat suspended in water because they repel each other, like the negative ends of two magnets. When the milk is corrupted, the surface charge disintegrates, and the particles come together to form a gel.”
It is the same with gold colloids, which are made up of nano-charged gold particles that repel each other, but when the charge collapses, it “cools” to form a gel. This gel is trapped in the cracks of the rocks to form high-quality gold veins. It is distinctively red and can be made in the laboratory, while solutions of dissolved gold are colorless. “
“We produced the first evidence of colloidal formation and flocculation in nature and the first images of small veins of colloidal gold particles and their nanoscale flowing clusters. These images document the process by which cracks are filled with gold, and reveal how gold veins are formed, after expanding their range by merging millions From these little veins. “
The importance of discovery for mining
Scientists say the results of the study are of great importance to mineral exploration and mining industry in Canada and around the world.
“Now that we finally understand how gold deposits are formed, mining companies will be able to use the results of our work to better explore deposits of precious metals, along with gold deposits,” they add.
Scientists Jones and MacLeish note that genetic studies of Canada’s most fertile mineral areas – such as those they studied at the Brooks-Jack Mine – are needed to improve their understanding of how world-class mineral deposits form, and thus to develop more effective strategies for exploring them.