“Gold storage” in the depths of the Earth

“Gold storage” in the depths of the Earth



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It turns out that the reserves of unmined gold are so large that it is difficult to imagine the scale of the wealth that our planet stores. According to scientists, there is so much gold hidden underground that we would be knee-deep in the valuable metal if it was on the surface.


An ocean of magma in which gold dissolved

Macquarie University geologist Bernard Wood is confident that 99% of the planet’s natural gold reserves are concentrated in the core of the planet. At the beginning of its origination, the Earth was covered with an ocean of magma due to strong volcanism. Over time, the flaming mass began to delaminate, the lighter components rose to the surface and the heavier ones pulled inward. The outer layer of the planet began to gradually cool down, turning into the Earth’s crust. Iron, the main component of magma, together with gold dissolved in it, went deep and formed the core of the Earth. Being at a depth of thousands of kilometers from the surface, the core and the valuable metal in it remain inaccessible to modern mankind.  


an artistic representation of the internal structure of the Earth

In the photo: an artistic representation of the internal structure of the Earth.


Extraterrestrial origin of gold

A team of scientists from Bristol Isotope Group in the School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, believes that the noble metal, located in the higher layers of the planet, was not originally part of it. Scientists analyzed ancient rocks and came to the conclusion that the yellow metal available for mining came to Earth as a result of the last meteorite bombardment, which occurred more than 3.8 billion years ago. These meteorites contained some gold and penetrated into the Earth’s crust and mantle during the development of the planet. Later, the precious metal was concentrated in ore deposits.


a meteorite

In the photo: this is what a meteorite bombardment might look like.


Space disasters breed gold

So, gold came to Earth from outer space. But how did it end up there in the first place? Edo Berger and his colleagues at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics believe that the precious metal originated as a result of cosmic catastrophes. Based on the observations, they made a conclusion: as a result of the collision of “dead” stellar cores, a large number of heavy elements, including gold, appear.

Astronomers observed one of these events and, according to the author of the study, the amount of the precious metal formed could be 10 times the mass of the Moon as a result of that catastrophe. Its cost could be 10 octillion dollars, which is a number with 28 zeros.


a meteorite

In the photo: the collision of “dead” stellar cores in the representation of the artist.


The mystery of the appearance of gold has captivated the attention of mankind for many centuries, but so far it has not been possible to get just one undeniably correct answer. Scientists continue their research, so we will surely learn many new facts about the noble metal in the future.


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