Gold deposits—formed by the global Flood
A saying harking back to America’s gold rush days, and made famous by cartoon character Yosemite Sam, is, “There’s gold in them thar hills!” Yes, but how did it get there, when, and how quickly? Research in recent decades has increasingly suggested that the term ‘gold rush’ applies as much to the fast formation of gold deposits as it does to treasure seekers hastily staking their claim.1 The evidence implies that Noah’s Flood, not ‘millions of years’, was responsible for forming some of the richest veins known.2
In the Bible, gold is first mentioned at Genesis 2:11–12 in the “land of Havilah”. It is described as “good” and was part of the “very good” pre-Fall creation (Genesis 1:31). Then, 1,656 years later, Noah’s Flood buried the old creation, including all the gold. Since many gold deposits are found within Flood-deposited layers, these deposits would have been produced during the Flood, by the associated complex geological processes. These Flood gold deposits, therefore, were not the pre-Flood gold mentioned in Genesis 2.
Gold is found in various types of deposits, often in very low concentrations. However, sometimes it occurs as thick, high-grade deposits, filling small cracks. Called ‘bonanza’ veins, they are prized by miners, who dream of finding them.
Such gold veins have long been believed to have formed by the slow accumulation of gold particles precipitated from hydrothermal fluids (hot water from deep underground). However, this idea has been challenged of late. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in 2021 provides new evidence suggesting speedy gold formation.
The study focuses on high-grade gold deposits in Brucejack, northwestern British Columbia, Canada, about a kilometre underground.3 It is now recognized that the concentration of gold in Brucejack bonanza veins is simply too high to be explained by hydrothermal fluids carrying dissolved gold, which then precipitates out of the solution, over long timespans. Hydrothermal fluids can only hold 10–30 parts per billion of dissolved gold, whereas Brucejack veins contain at least 5 parts per million of gold, and sometimes as high as 50% pure gold by weight in the small veins. Researchers have determined that at those concentrations, and for geomechanical reasons, it would take an unrealistically long time to deposit these veins of the precious metal:
Formation of such bonanza veins by direct precipitation of native gold or electrum4 from the ore fluids would require that individual fractures remain open for unreasonably long periods of time (>>50,000 y, which is a timeframe that exceeds the total lifespan of many porphyry–epithermal5 deposits and greatly exceeds the estimated ~1,400 y required to seal a 1-m-wide vein grading 20 g/t Au [gold in grams per ton] in an active geothermal system) or that the fluid flux be extraordinarily high.6
The new research has shown that gold, rather than being dissolved in solution as previously thought, is carried within hydrothermal fluids as a ‘colloid’. A familiar colloid is milk, which holds globules of fat in suspension. When milk curdles, those globules clump together to become larger masses. That is similar to what happens with gold particles suspended in hydrothermal fluids. The evidence for this is seen in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) photographs published by the researchers. These suggest that during bonanza gold formation, tiny gold particles clump together, then fall quickly out of suspension, and are deposited with other minerals in veins. This process is called ‘flocculation’ and is very rapid.
Gold involved the Flood
Furthermore, the research paper explains how seawater at depth is an essential ingredient for gold flocculation. The resultant chemistry provides the ‘Midas touch’7 when it comes to the right chemical conditions for gold formation. The paper states:
The mixing of seawater which is moderately alkaline (pH 7.5 to 8.5), with an acidic to near-neutral hydrothermal fluid, favors the precipitation of cationic [positively charged ions] flocculants due to the increase in pH but also adds cationic flocculants (e.g., positively charged sodium, Na⁺) and accelerates cooling, which in turn promotes flocculation.6
In other words, the research paper recognizes that the right chemical conditions occurred at Brucejack, by the mixing of seawater, boiling, and decompression of colloidal fluids from deeper underground. However, the paper states:
… most of the flocculation occurred in response to the mixing of seawater …6
The evidence suggests the seawater was pumped in spasmodically (in their model, from an ancient sea above where the deposit then lay), and mixed with colloidal gold in suspension in hydrothermal fluids:
Seismic pumping resulting from episodic, earthquake-related fault fracturing … progressively converted the fractures into hyperenriched gold veins and was the final and critical driver of bonanza gold ore formation at Brucejack.6
It’s not hard to see all this happening in the context of Noah’s Flood, which involved seawater, massive tectonic activity (Psalm 104:8), and of necessity huge amounts of volcanic activity with its associated heat. The key point is of course that the evidence published in the new research suggests the gold was emplaced quickly. It joins a growing list of geological processes that were once thought to take a very long time, but not anymore. Colloidal suspension and seawater chemistry have also explained how banded iron formations formed quickly. These were once believed to have taken millions of years to form—but that has been reduced to days, or hours!8
The researchers expect that further studies around the world will demonstrate that their new findings concerning Brucejack are the norm when it comes to gold formation—i.e. it was speedy. It seems that as far as bonanza gold is concerned, ‘all that glitters’ is not ‘as old as the hills’ are believed to be by old-earth geologists.
Believe the Bible—and go for gold!
Lead researcher Duncan McLeish (PhD student in earth sciences at Montreal’s McGill University) stated:
We’re the first people to get an image to essentially prove that … [gold] nanoparticles … colloids, exist [in geothermal systems] … This has been [a] long-standing problem that has been an issue for economic geologists … lf you can’t understand how the veins are formed, then you are limited in how well and efficiently you can explore for them, find them, [and] mine them …9
It does not require belief in millions of years to find gold; in fact, an evolutionary worldview could hamper ‘striking it rich’. The new evidence from Brucejack backs up the Bible, and may enable more gold to be discovered around the world.
This new research shows how previous theories for gold formation fail when built on slow-and-gradual ideas. Instead, the evidence is consistent with the conditions we would expect in Noah’s Flood—hot colloidal solutions, mixed with seawater at depth—resulting in speedy gold deposition. Evolutionary thinking produces ‘fools gold’—but the Bible provides the ‘golden opportunity’ to find true, eternal riches (Matthew 6:20–21).
Colloids and chemistry (semi-technical)
To anyone familiar with the physical chemistry of colloids, it seems likely that, were it not for long-age preconceptions, the effects of seawater in promoting rapid gold deposition as described in this article would (should) have occurred to researchers long ago. There are two competing forces between colloid particles suspended in a liquid: short-range attractive forces vs longer-range repulsive forces between the like-charged particles. Seawater has positively charged particles (cations) that largely neutralize the negative charges on the colloidal gold particles. Thus the electrostatic repulsion is reduced, and the colloid particles get close enough for the attractive forces to clump them.*
*This is the simplified version; the more rigorous description is the famous DLVO (Deryagin–Landau/Verwey–Overbeek) theory of colloid stability.
Correct thinking has practical results
Understanding the true origin and dynamics of other sources of gold, such as alluvial nuggets, is also likely to be an aid to more readily finding these. Australian Jack Lange is an ordained pastor and an experienced gold prospector who testified previously in Creation to how his belief in the Flood improves his success. He wrote:
My understanding of the biblical Flood and how its massive forces disseminated gold nuggets further from their reef source than commonly thought has helped me become a successful prospector.
Lange, J., Golden evidence of the Genesis Flood, Creation 29(4):16–17, 2007; creation.com/gold-flood.
References and notes
- Devine, D., Liquid gold, Creation 30(2):36–37, 2008; creation.com/rapid-gold-deposit. Return to text.
- Anonymous, Gold veins produced ‘in an instant’, Creation 35(3):7–11, 2013; creation.com/focus-353. Return to text.
- Ground level there is about 1.5 km above sea level. Return to text.
- ‘Electrum’ is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, with trace amounts of copper, and other metals. Return to text.
- ‘Porphyry–epithermal deposits’ refers to igneous rock (consisting of large-grained crystals such as feldspar or quartz dispersed in a fine-grained silicate-rich matrix), deposited by warm waters at shallow depth—within lower ranges of temperatures and pressures. Return to text.
- McLeish, D.F. et al., Colloidal transport and flocculation are the cause of the hyperenrichment of gold in nature, PNAS 118(20), 18 May 2021. Return to text.
- King Midas is popularly remembered in Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold. Return to text.
- Dickens, H., Banded iron formations formed rapidly, J. Creation 31(2):14–16, 2017; creation.com/banded-iron. Return to text.
- Pappas, S., ‘Bonanza’ gold veins in rocks finally explained, livescience.com, 1 Jun 2021. Return to text.