A gold nugget is a naturally occurring piece of native gold. Watercourses often concentrate nuggets and finer gold in placers. Nuggets are recovered by placer mining, but they are also found in residual deposits where the gold-bearing veins or lodes are weathered.
Nuggets are also found in the tailings piles of previous mining operations, especially those left by gold mining dredges.
The origin of gold nuggets is a matter of debate. Many gold nuggets formed as clusters of gold crystals from very hot water in cracks and fissures in hard-rocks, often with quartz. Later, weathering released the gold nuggets that end up in a stream due to gravity.
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