Abstract

Lacelike networks of micrometre-size filiform gold associated with Alaskan placer gold particles are interpreted as low-temperature pseudomorphs of a Pedomicrobium-like budding bacterium. Submicron reproductive structures (hyphae) and other morphological features similar to those of Pedomicrobiummanganicum occur as detailed three-dimensional facsimiles in high-purity gold in and on placer gold particles from Lillian Creek, Alaska. In a scanning electron microscope survey, the majority of gold particles at nine Alaskan placer deposits appear to include gold that has accumulated chemically at low temperatures in and on the cells of P. manganicum. Similar bacterioform gold from a Paleozoic deposit in China and from the Precambrian Witwatersrand deposit in South Africa may indicate that bacterioform gold is widespread.

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