Where does gold come from? Sadly, leprechauns don’t exist, so we won’t be finding any gold pots at the ends of rainbows. Similarly, alchemists never managed to turn base metals into gold. How is gold actually formed? If we can recall back to our high school chemistry classes, we might remember that in its purest form gold is actually an element, notated by the symbol AU on the periodic table of elements. Gold isn’t truly formed—at least, not on Earth.
GOLD COMES FROM OUTER SPACE.
Gold, the shiny yellow metal prized for it’s beauty and malleability and used in many different industries, is actually created inside massive stars when they explode into a supernova. Of course, after a star supernovas and forms gold, the precious metal has to travel to Earth in some way. By studying ancient rock samples with high-precision instruments, scientists have found evidence that accessible gold, or the gold that is technologically and economically feasible to reach on the surface of the planet, arrived via asteroids when the earth was still fairly young.
Here’s another interesting fact: During the initial formation of the planet, heavy iron sank into the middle to form the planet’s core. This iron took other heavy elements, like gold, with it. That’s where most of the gold on the planet should be, rather than in the crust, which is where we find it. Because the gold is so near the earth’s surface, humans have been able to stumble across it aboveground and extract it through mining.
Scientists said that gold is actually ten times more common in the planet’s crust than they would expect it to be if it came here when the earth was still forming and molten hot. This lends credence to their conclusion that gold must have arrived on earth later, and it is likely that asteroids carried it here. It is fair to conclude that gold comes from outer space.
HOW ARE DIFFERENT GOLD DEPOSITS FORMED?
Of course, there are different kinds of gold deposits. This precious metal has been found in streams, in the sides of rock outcroppings, and of course, under the earth. At different times in the earth’s history, hot fluids circulated through gold-bearing rocks and because of the weight and chemical properties of the gold, the gold may have been carried off to form a vein or a lode. In other instances, gold flakes and nuggets broke off and were carried away by water’s currents. Since gold is relatively heavy, it sinks to the bottom of streams and riverbeds.
WHERE TO FIND GOLD.
According to estimates, all of the gold ever mined in the history of humanity amounts to about 152,000 metric tons. This sounds like a lot, but it is only about enough to fill up 60 trailers. Scientists believe that there is still eight times more gold in and under the oceans than has ever been mined close to the planet’s surface. Like the gold that is probably floating in the Earth’s molten core, most of this supply of the precious metal is inaccessible or simply too expensive to mine. Interestingly, gold has been discovered on all of Earth’s continents except for Antarctica.