Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Real History of Gold

Looking past the very short history of humans digging for gold, the real story of gold is the origin of the currently accessible gold. Here's the latest thinking:
During the formation of the Earth, molten iron sank to its centre to make the core. This took with it the vast majority of the planet's precious metals – such as gold and platinum. In fact, there are enough precious metals in the core to cover the entire surface of the Earth with a four metre thick layer.

The removal of gold to the core should leave the outer portion of the Earth bereft of bling. However, precious metals are tens to thousands of times more abundant in the Earth's silicate mantle than anticipated. It has previously been argued that this serendipitous over-abundance results from a cataclysmic meteorite shower that hit the Earth after the core formed. The full load of meteorite gold was thus added to the mantle alone and not lost to the deep interior.
I love the bit about paving the earth's surface 4 metres thick with gold. That should cause a panic attack among the gold bugs willing to pay $1900/ounce.

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