Analysis of quartz vein thicknesses and gold grades in drill core from western Spain indicates that both approximate a power law distribution, suggesting an underlying fractal relationship. Log-log plots of cumulative frequency (N) against vein thickness (t) show systematic changes in relation to gold grade. The exponent D, in a power law of the form N = C t (super -D) , is lower for higher gold grades, indicating that a greater proportion of the dilation is taking place on the thicker veins, which are interpreted as providing interconnected conduits for gold-bearing fluids. Thus, monitoring the vein thickness distribution may provide a means of discriminating mineralized and barren structures in vein-hosted mineral deposits.

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