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Name:  Joseph
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Date: 1999

How does gold formed and find its way to the crust?

Gold is formed as the result of molten rock, called magma, being intruded into solid rock. As the magma cools and solidifies, water and other volatile substances separate out from the magma under high pressure. The high pressure of hot water and steam force open fissures in the surrounding solid rock, through which these hydrothermal solutions travel. When the hydrothermal solutions cool, deposition of material occurs, especially quartz in the form of quartz veins.
Because gold has a relatively low melting temperature, it is sometimes carried by these hydrothermal solutions through the fissures in the rock and solidifies inside the quartz veins. Thus, the place to look for gold is usually in quartz veins near the intrusion of a magma body. One example is the so-called Mother Lode of the Sierra Nevada in California. If these quartz veins are eroded, the gold may be found in streams and rivers; this explains why the 49-ers of the last century were able to pan for gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.


It needs to be pointed out that gold is not formed within the Earth, but was created by an exploding star that provided the materiasl for our current solar system.

Steve Sample

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