Monday, May 19, 2008

Is My Ground Too Veiny?

What was your grade school science project? I did one on smelting. Couldn’t tell you anything about it now, other than I really liked that word. Smelting.

After visiting the Cobar museum, I wish I had done one on the evolution of minerals, because it's really interesting. It turns out, it’s sort of like baking a cake:

Recipe for Creating Minerals
1. Take millions of acres of land. Cover completely with water to a depth of one mile or more.
2. Let sit 15 million years (or until mud, sand on bottom hardens).
3. Using a folding motion, scoop hardened rock up and into mountains.
4. Apply wind, rain, heat, water until mountains completely disappear.
5. Repeat as necessary.

The key ingredients are the fluids. Water continues to bring new mud, sand, etc., out of which the minerals are formed, into the area. And other liquid moves through the fault cracks created during the mountain-formation process, picking up the silica and metals that have been created, carrying them along and up, as pressure is applied until the liquid cools and the minerals precipitate out, forming the veins of ore that will be found underground.

This whole process started 450 million years ago in this area, and involved four different sets of mountain ranges being formed and falling away. Today, with a few isolated exceptions, there’s nary a mountain to be found in the area.

Isn't that something?

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