Gold – A Simple Metal
Gold is a simple metal that’s anything but simple. Gold, held deep inside the earth over the centuries, has the ability to draw out the latent desire of mankind. Prospectors dig through dirt and stone to track down this elusive mistress. Others simply buy gold for the ones they love in the form of fine jewelry. Regardless of your attachment to gold, over the centuries it has become an integral part of human existence. For something we desire so much, very few people actually understand what gold is.
How Gold Is Formed In Nature
Gold is an inert element therefore it is not actually formed, but instead exists in its natural state contained within the earth’s crust. When referring to the formation of gold we are actually discussing gold deposits such as gold flakes, nuggets, ores, and veins.
There are four primary types of gold deposits.
Lode gold deposits are caused by the collisions of the earth’s tectonic plates. When tectonic plates collide, magma is pushed upward and cools, creating metamorphic rocks.
Metamorphic rocks have natural fault lines through which hydrothermal water attempts to escape. This water carries molten gold into the cracks of the rock until the water cools down, causing the gold to solidify and become infused with the metamorphic.
Intrusive gold is formed in a way vary similar to lode gold. Magma penetrates into solid rock walls carrying the gold within it. When the magma cools it leaves new layers of rock and minerals, including gold, inside of the existing rock.
Placer gold is formed from already existing lode and intrusive gold deposits. Placer gold is caused by the eroding effect of water upon rock. Rain and the flow of rivers against them will erode rock walls releasing the minerals contained within.
These minerals including gold will flow downhill entering into rivers and streams. Gravity will then pull the gold downward in areas where the stream current is slower, forming these deposits. When the river beds dry up these deposits remain in place, and can be dug up. These deposits can either be flakes or nuggets.
Laterite gold deposits are formed from existing deposits of gold. Laterite refers to rock types plentiful in iron that were created by the weathering of bedrock. They have a rusty red appearance and are usually found in both hot and tropical areas. Gold in the bedrock combines with iron oxide and forms the deposits.
Claiming A Deposit
Understanding how gold deposits are formed is the first step in finding gold. The second step is making a claim on the gold you found.
Making a claim is a delicate legal process that requires much precision. Occasionally after claims on deposits are made, people will still attempt to deny them and steal your gold.
Joining a gold club can help you through the claiming process. Having an organization behind you gives you more clout when making your claims.