All About Gold Mineralization (Part 2)

 (Two elements are closely associated in this ore. Can you guess what they are?)

Similar Elements in Similar Environments

OK, I'm back on track for completing this series of posts on gold mineralization. Once again, let me stress to you how important a working knowledge of gold geology and mineralization can be to your overall gold prospecting and mining knowledge regardless of your current experience level as a miner or prospector.

Gold Mining Tips
Gold Mining Equipment

First off, the essential physical and chemical properties of the various elements (including those considered to be "precious" such as gold, silver, and platinum) pretty much dictate whether these same elements will be found together or in similar geological environments. This is why gold is often found close to or in conjunction with silver, copper, iron, or even platinum  in some instances. Conversely, elements that are highly dissimilar in their chemical or physical structures tend not to be associated with one another in most situations.

Shuffling the Geological Cards

The way mineralization takes place and how gold or other precious metal ores are formed is way to complex for me to write about at length here. Besides, I'd probably bore the hell out of you in the process. Suffice it to say that a range of geological conditions must first take place, including pressure, heat, various tectonic stresses, vulcanism, and upheavals and uplifts to name but a few.

Wolverine Boots
Dickies Work Clothes

Next comes alteration of the basic geological "ingredients" in the form of mineral enrichment or removal, deposition or redeposition of minerals separately or in conjunction with one another, chemical dissolution (removal), dispersal, concentration, and so on. In other words, the various geological cards get shuffled into very similar or, on the opposite end, highly different patterns.

One key point to bear in mind about gold mineralization is that both the geophysical and the geochemical characteristics or conditions that the various elements are subjected to will inevitably determine how and where gold forms and the extent of that specific mineralization.

The Periodic Table

If you've never seen a periodic table or chart of the elements I've included one below. Notice how close together (relatively speaking) gold (Au), silver (Ag), platinum (Pt), copper (Cu), and even iron (Fe) are on the periodic chart. This may help you to see better what I mean about the similarities of certain elements.

Elemental combinations are also very important to mineralization. For example, FeS2 or iron sulphide is commonly know as iron pyrite or just plain pyrite. To take things a step further for you, pyritic mineralization is often associated with sulphide gold ores, especially here in the Western U.S. (Starting to make the connections now?)

That's it for this round but there's more on gold mineralization to come. Oh, by the way...the answer to the question I asked about the ore photo at the beginning of this post is, of course, Au and Fe.

Good luck out there.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "More on Gold Deposition"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  20012

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