Orogenic gold deposits have formed over more than 3 billion years of Earth's history, episodically during the Middle Archean to younger Precambrian, and continuously throughout the Phanerozoic. This class of gold deposit is characteristically associated with deformed and metamorphosed mid-crustal blocks, particularly in spatial association with major crustal structures. A consistent spatial and temporal association with granitoids of a variety of compositions indicates that melts and fluids were both inherent products of thermal events during orogenesis. Including placer accumulations, which are commonly intimately associated with this mineral deposit type, recognized production and resources from economic Phanerozoic orogenic-gold deposits are estimated at just over one billion ounces gold. Exclusive of the still-controversial Witwatersrand ores, known Precambrian gold concentrations are about half this amount. The recent increased applicability of global paleo-reconstructions, coupled with improved geochronology from most of the world's major gold camps, allows for an improved understanding of the distribution pattern of orogenic gold in space and time.
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Orogenic gold and geologic time: A global synthesis