Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Gold formation

Name:  Joseph
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999


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


Replies:
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.

-Grant


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



Click here to return to the General Topics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory