Earthquakes make instant gold.

OK, well, instant veins of gold, at least. The gold, Nature says, is in the ground already. But it takes an earthquake to make it mine-able in a flash:

Scientists have long known that veins of gold are formed by mineral deposition from hot fluids flowing through cracks deep in Earth’s crust. But a study published today in Nature Geoscience1 has found that the process can occur almost instantaneously — possibly within a few tenths of a second.

The process takes place along ‘fault jogs’ — sideways zigzag cracks that connect the main fault lines in rock, says first author Dion Weatherley, a seismologist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

It’s like panning for gold (using water to wash the heavier stuff into one spot) only all at once.