It may surprise you to know that gold was never formed on earth. Almost all the gold that we are wearing on our person or storing in our safe at home – came from asteroids. There is far more gold sitting in the core of the earth than has ever been on the surface. That gold was generously donated by our sun. Over the billions of years, it took to form the earth, that gold along with most other metals given to us by the sun, has sunk to the magma core of our planet. There is enough gold in the center of the earth to cover the surface with a 1.5-foot-thick layer. If you combine all the precious metals, you would get a 4-foot-thick layer. If you’d like to learn more interesting facts about gold, please see our article 5 Interesting Facts About Gold.
Gold is Created in Supernovas
Aztecs describe gold as “the sweat of the sun.” They may have come up with this metaphor because of the similar color, unfortunately they will never know how close they were to the truth. The sun goes through a process called fusion. At the beginning stages of a star’s life, the star is made up of hydrogen. The immense gravity and heat causes the hydrogen atoms to combine into helium atoms. The helium atoms will continue to fuse to make larger elements. Once fusion reaches iron, it is the beginning of the end for the star. A star cannot fuse higher than iron because the energy required to fuse iron is greater than gravitation forces created by the star. Eventually the iron will build up in the star like a cancer and the star will go supernova. In this cosmic explosion, enough energy is produced to create the heavier metals that we know today. One of these heavier metals is gold.
Gold Might be Created when 2 Stars Collide
Another theory rising in popularity is that gold is formed when 2 neutron stars collide, releasing an amazing amount of energy and creating the mass of Jupiter in gold. Neutron stars are created when a massive star burns out and leaves only the center. Neutron stars on their own are incredibly slow burning. The last thing to produce light in our universe will most likely be a neutron star. 50% of stars in our universe are orbiting another star. When 2 neutron stars orbit each other, the density will warp space-time in the surrounding area. When 2 stars this dense eventually collide, a massive amount of energy is released creating gold and most of the other heavy elements.
This is a well produce video talking in greater detail about how gold is formed from stars.
Earthquakes and Volcanoes Help Us Mine Gold
Water is constantly flowing within the crevices of the earth. Large earthquakes heat up this water, vaporizing it. This water vapor deposits gold within the fault lines. Over extended periods of time, enough gold will be deposited to be qualified as a gold vein. Another way that earthquakes helps us mine gold is by breaking up already formed veins. The water will collect the gold flakes and transport them to rivers or oceans. The metal is denser than the water and will settle at the bottom. A current way to mine gold is to suck up the dirt at the bottom of the ocean and filter out the gold. It is the modern gold pan method used in the gold rush.
The Hills have Gold
Earthquakes are not the only natural force depositing gold in our crust. Volcanos can grab up loose gold and help push it into the surface. Volcanoes are connected to caverns that push many of the earths elements. When the pressure builds in these caverns a cataclysmic force is unleased from the volcano and the earth’s surface get coated with hot magma. Inside this magma is gold. Scientist believe that gold flakes deposited in hills were placed there by nearby volcanoes.
There are scientist always looking for ways the earth brings gold to the surface. Understanding the physics helps gold mining companies prospect for new gold mines. In recent years, gold miners have been finding less gold per deposit. If new methods of finding gold are not developed. The worlds demand may soon overtake the supply we are mining.
Where to Look for Gold Next?
Scientist believe that the next best place to meet the world’s demands for gold is under the ocean’s surface. Right now, there are groups meeting in Jamaica to determine best practices for mining on the ocean’s bed.
De Beers has been mining diamond from shallow ocean floors for years now. It is possible to get the same yields from deeper oceans. The same is true for all precious metals. With growing needs in technology, the demand for these metals may make it economical to go after these deep-sea metals. Some concerns that the international community has with deep ocean mining is jurisdiction. The ocean floor is internationally neutral and strife between countries may arise if proper laws are not produced before high demand pushes miners into other’s perceived territory.
How Much Gold is on the Sea Floor
Not including the sunken treasure lost by humans, it is estimated that there is 60 billion pounds of gold ready to be mined. That is enough to give every human 9 pounds of the yellow metal. In today’s market 9 pounds of gold is worth $170,500 and that doesn’t include the numerous other precious metals waiting in the depths. The ocean floor may very well be the next gold rush.