LAS VEGAS (CBS Las Vegas) – According to the findings of a new study, earthquakes could have the power to turn water into gold.
Researchers based at the University of Queensland in Australia discovered that water found on fault lines vaporizes during an earthquake and subsequently leaves gold deposits in the aftermath, LiveScience is reporting.
Gold can often be found already in parts of the southwestern United States, according to Geology.com.
“[P]lacer gold occurs along many of the intermittent and ephemeral streams of arid regions in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and southern California,” the website notes.
Though much of the gold mined in those parts of the country reportedly comes from drier parts of the area, the region’s fault lines may provide additional resources of gold if researchers in the new study are correct.
Geophysicist Dion Weatherley, the lead author of the study along with Richard Henley of the Australian National University in Canberra, asserted that earthquakes case water inside fault lines to vaporize instantly, starting a domino effect that leads to the forming of mineral quartz and gold.
“This new knowledge on gold-deposit formation mechanisms may assist future gold exploration efforts,” Weatherley was quoted as saying by the science website.
The study was published in the March 17 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, LiveScience learned.