Years ago I started learning a lot about gold mines in South Africa wanting to know why it was that so much gold was being mined out of that geographical location. South Africa seemed to be a “geological freak zone” for me so I started reading. At the time, I picked up a few Krugerrand coins because they are a remarkably precise and extremely well minted gold coin. After gold was discovered in 1886 near the Witwatersrand region of Johannesburg, then President Paul Kruger saw a need for South Africa to start minting its own coinage. The National Bank of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (South African Republic) was established in 1890 and began minting operations in Church Square in Pretoria. The largest gold refinery in the world, the Rand Refinery in South Africa, mints the Krugerrand gold coin. I read that Paul Kruger had apparently been related to gold that was alleged he had discovered in a mine in South Africa worth an estimated US$243,000,000, and this was the reason Britain sent an estimated 470,000 troops to South Africa in the Boer War in 1899. This was 13 years after gold was discovered near Witwatersrand South Africa. Seems wherever there are resources for the taking the British have always been there.
What were the geological factors that could be attributed to South Africa being the location for the enormous amount of gold mined out of that region of the world? Up until that time the largest asteroid impact crater in the world was located in South Africa known as the Vredefort Dome (image on the left). The 10 kilometre wide asteroid hit the earth near what is today the town of Vredefort in the Free State, 100km south of Johannesburg. The impact created a massive crater that can still be seen from space. Hmmmm…the largest asteroid impact on earth and the most abundant gold mining in the world? The location where gold was first discovered in South Africa in 1886 in Witwatersrand, is relatively close – imagine the impact radius of a 10 kilometre sized asteroid – to where the impact zone is of the asteroid crater in Vredefort. So what I discovered was that wherever there are asteroid impacts on earth there are very large gold deposits. I would be willing to bet my Krugerrand coins that if a metal detector was taken to some of these difficult to reach areas like in South Africa and in Australia, gold would be discovered. Up until just recently, it was thought that the Vredefort Dome was the largest asteroid impact on earth, but that is no longer the case. Last year in 2015, a massive impact crater was discovered in Australia which left an impact area roughly 250 miles in size.
While researching trying to learn more about the locations of gold deposits around the world, I found a site which is rather unique suggesting that where there are asteroid impacts there will be found gold deposits. So I concluded that either the stress and enormous pressures of asteroid strikes must have caused the creation of gold, or the asteroids that hit the earth were loaded with gold. That isn’t such a far fetched idea because scientists have recently advocated mining asteroids for gold. Frank O’Collins has some remarkable work he is doing going on around thirty years and he blogged awhile back on this subject of asteroid impact zones being related to gold deposits. I’ve taken some of Frank O’Collins’ findings and have reported them here, so readers can look for themselves at these asteroid impact zones around the world. I’ve only reproduced here asteroid impact zones located in Australia. If you click on the bold font hyper linked jpg maps will appear indicating asteroid strikes in Australia. Compared to other geographic locations on earth it seems a bit of an anomaly as to why Australia has been hit with so many asteroids including now this most recent discovery being the largest asteroid strike on earth. Maybe it’s just because of the size of the Australian land mass. The Tanami Crater mentioned below in Frank O’Collins’ work is close I think to the discovery last year of this alleged largest asteroid so far known to have impacted earth.
Australia -In Victoria, see Ballarat (download jpg) in Australia as site where massive amounts of gold were extracted. Also Clunes-Creswick Crater (download jpg). Here is another site nearby that is virtually untouched (download jpg).
In NSW, see the Bathurst Crater (download jpg), the Beryl-Mebul Crater (download jpg), the Crookwell Crater (download jpg), the Armidale Crater (download jpg) and the Parkes Forbes Crater (download jpg) which perfectly matches the gold rush fields, explains precisely the reason for the gold locations and highlights missing reefs and alluvial gold not yet extracted.
Actually though, this is only the tip of the iceberg, there are hundreds and hundreds of asteroid hits all over the earth going back millions of years in earth’s history. Gold being located where these asteroid strikes seems fairly pluasible but I am also wondering is it possible for gold to then be found inside mines that go down 2 kilometers below the surface like the gold mines in South Africa? AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng gold mine, located south-west of Johannesburg in South Africa, is currently the deepest mine in the world. The operating depth at Mponeng mine ranged from between “2.4km to more than 3.9km below the surface by the end of 2012”. Ongoing expansions have resulted in deeper digging at Mponeng, pushing the record to beyond the four kilometre mark. That is a deep mine. Can the impact from an asteroid reach that deep to create gold deposits?