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Find a fault in the earth’s crust and you could find some gold, West Australian researchers say.

After studying the St Ives Goldfields, researchers concluded small-scale fault systems had a strong correlation with the location of gold.

The research revealed all major gold deposits were controlled by faults, but small systems were more likely to lead to gold than larger ones.

CSIRO researcher Carsten Laukamp said the relationship between fault systems and gold traces was crucial to understanding the creation of gold and could be used to help find other commodities.

“Determining the spatial relationship between geological features such as fault lines, and gold traces, is not only important to understand how deposits form, it can also guide mineral exploration because we can use this information to develop predictive mineral maps,” he said.

The team developed a predictive mineral map of the St Ives Goldfields that showed areas where there was a high chance of gold being located.

Information about rock type, colour, shape, size and geological boundaries were collated to develop the map.

“Next, we’ll incorporate data collected from aircrafts and satellites, such as geophysical and spectroscopic data, which will improve the information value and accuracy of the predictive mineral map,” Dr Laukamp said.