Over 80 per cent of the world's commercial gold deposits formed in a flash. Using a simple model, geologists have shown that mountain-building earthquakes deep below Earth pull apart rocks so quickly that the high-pressure fluids they contain instantly vaporise. This process leaves behind residues rich in minerals including gold.
Geologists have long known that gold seams must form when mineral-rich water flows through networks of cracks in rocks 5 to 30 kilometres below the ground. But exactly how the gold accumulates in these cracks was unclear.
h/t Charles WT