Revealed: how the gold arrived in them thar hills of the Witwatersrand

The mystery of the Witwatersrand basin’s unparalleled gold deposits has been unravelled … by ocean scientists.

The mystery of the Witwatersrand basin’s unparalleled gold deposits has been unravelled … by ocean scientists.

A German-Canadian team that analysed ore samples with high-resolution electron microscopes and 3D software found that gold has its origins in the area’s distant geological history when it was covered by sea water.

Sebastian Fuchs‚ from the Geomar Helmholtz Centre of Ocean Research Kiel‚ said crude oil and hot hydrothermal fluids played a major role in the formation of gold deposits more than three billion years ago.

“We were able to find out that fossil oil … formed by organic matter derived from the first living organisms on Earth‚ mobilised uranium in the basin‚” Fuchs wrote in the journal Precambrian Research this week.


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