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Microscopic filiform morphologies in gold which are indistinguishable from forms originally interpreted as bacterial in origin were produced in the laboratory by treating amalgams made from natural and artificial gold with hot nitric acid. Textures ranging from cobblestone to deeply crenulated to nodular filiform were produced in the laboratory from all tested natural and artificial gold amalgams; analogous textures widespread in Alaskan placer gold may have a similar inorganic origin. These results indicate that morphology alone cannot be considered adequate evidence of microbial involvement in gold formation.
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Artifacts resembling budding bacteria produced in placer-gold amalgams by nitric acid leaching