WANT to know where you should dig for gold?
The secret could be understanding how gold-bearing fluids were released millions of years ago as the earth's crust rotated high above.
Geologists are only now starting to understand how rotations in the earth's crust 455 to 370 million years ago opened, closed and reopened long cracks that gold-bearing fluids could surge up through, Monash University's Christopher Wilson said.
Some of his latest research tracks some of those events as mining industry interest in exploring Victoria's depths grows.
"I'm pointing out some major differences in people's thinking about that timing and how the gold actually got into places like Bendigo and Fosterville," Professor Wilson said.
"The saying 'gold is where you find it' has been the frustrated lament of generations of explorers and prospectors," he said.
"However ... we are starting to understand the geological forces that shaped central Victoria and formed the renowned gold deposits there that played such a critical role in Australia's economic and social history."
That has largely been possible because of recent, and extensive, geological mapping by groups like the Geological Survey of Victoria and Geoscience Australia.
However, Professor Wilson has some bad news for long-suffering gold miners yet to strike it rich.
"Any of that gold will be very localised. That is the challenge for any explorers ... you'll find companies will drill a lot of unsuccessful holes," he said.
Then, all of a sudden, companies could stumble across an ancient fault that widened 370 million years ago and now bear bonanza gold, Professor Wilson said.
Those geological processes appear to be at work at Fosterville, where miners hit the motherlode with a gold field that has already given two million ounces of gold with more to come.
He will present findings from one the latest studies he led in Heathcote on Monday, at mining industry group AusIMM's central Victorian branch AGM.