In the beginning there was gold… created by pressure, heat, time and God´s hands… Gold, the eternal element…
Gold is not usually found in the pure state. It more frequently occurs in association with other metallic minerals–silver, copper, nickel, zinc, lead, and etc.
Because of its scarcity, however, it is one of our most precious metals.
Gold has lured and attracted both the poor and the rich of the world since times immemorial because, while it is a rare and valuable metal, it is also lustrous, ductile and pliable and thus easily worked for artistic and decorative ends . Primarily, possession of gold is a sign of wealth and prosperity and human greed drives man to possess more and more of it. Gold is variably used for ornamentation, decorative jewelry and gold plating. The metal also finds application in dentistry and as a raw material in some industrial chemical processing. The desire and quest for gold is unending.
The natural occurrence of gold may be classified simply as:
- Rock gold
- Alluvial gold
- By-Product gold
(1) Rock Gold may be found in mineralized veins associated with igneous rock. It is also called lode gold.
(2) Eluvial and alluvial Gold is also called detrital gold. It is found in weathered surface material and as water transported deposits where river currents and/or wave action concentrate heavier materials.
(3) By-Product Gold is obtained as a by-product during the extraction/production of other metals in diverse mining operations.
Gold has always been attractive to human beings because of its shine, beauty, durability, and rarity. It is readily melted and converted into intricate shapes and may even be stretched into wire.
In Guatemala, a small country, significant quantities of gold are believed to exist; hiding in the rivers, buried in the mountains, and variably distributed over a broad portion of the country–both near the surface or deep underground . Guatemala’s southern geology is dominated by volcanic activity where the Cocos crustal plate collides with the Caribbean Plate to the north . While precious metals are not usually encountered in the more recent surface volcanic debris along the country’s east to west spine, the tectonic forces associated with this activity along plate margins have resulted, over the ages, in conditions favorable to gold formation at depth or nearby. Discovery awaits, within a broad belt north of the line of volcanic peaks and the broad lowlands that characterize the northern extremes of the republic.
In this region of Guatemala all three different occurrences of gold exist. This is a subject for subsequent, more detailed, discussion.