How is Gold Formed?
Gold is considered to be the most popular precious metal, due to its repository of value. Over thousands of years, nations across the world, kings and queens, governments and their banks have all accepted gold as the principal precious metal. There are other precious metals that exist, a couple of which are more expensive than gold. However, gold continues to enjoy unfettered liquidity across the world.
Gold is widely traded as a commodity and the COMEX gold prices decide the rate at which gold is bought or sold at any given point in time. This is known as the spot price of gold and it is calculated in US dollars per Troy ounce. But, have you ever wondered how is gold formed? Many of us know that it is mined in a few countries across the world. But, more importantly, where does it come from?
It is common knowledge that gold can be obtained from gold mines. However, gold flakes are also available in rivers and streams and certain parts of the sea. It has a yellow metallic colour, which has led to many people calling it the yellow metal. Gold has certain rare properties which include malleability, conductivity, and ductility. It is known as an element with its symbol represented by ‘AU’. Its properties of ductility and conductivity make it attractive to the industry as an electrical conductor. How is gold formed? It is interesting to know that the formation of gold took place long before our planet was formed.
Many scientists believe that the element was formed during collisions between supernovae and neutron stars even before the birth of our solar system. However, during the formation of our planet, gold was deposited in the core of the Earth. Cosmic events that took place over millions of years on Earth, such as the Earth’s collision with asteroids made some of this gold available to us.
Yes, in theory, scientists can create gold by bombarding Mercury with radiation. As the decay of mercury takes place, the formation of gold can take place. However, in reality, it is difficult to produce gold through this route. The finite amount of gold available on the Earth needs to be mined and extracted.
As explained earlier, when our planet was formed, heavy elements such as iron, and gold made their way to the core of the planet. However, when the asteroid collisions took place billions of years ago, the layers of our planet were churned. This resulted in large amounts of gold being deposited into the upper layers.
Well, it is difficult to calculate exactly how much gold could be found inside the Earth’s crust and mantle. However, a 2016 survey conducted in the United States revealed that approximately 196,320 tons of gold have been extracted and produced ever since human civilisation started. Gold is an extremely dense metal (19.32 g/cm³) and does not occupy a lot of space. It is estimated that there may be 1,000,000 tons of gold embedded within a kilometre of the Earth’s surface. Of course, the volume of the precious metal inside the mantle and the core of the Earth is unknown but could be a lot more. With advancements in technology, it may be eventually possible to access these deposits of gold as well.
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