Earth is full of gold. The problem is that much of the precious metal is buried deep in the earth’s core where there’s no hope of retrieving it. In fact, there’s so much gold in the center of the earth that if you could access it, you could cover the entire surface of our planet with a gold coating that is over 13 feet thick.
(Pixabay / Mhy)
As Earth was forming, there was an abundance of gold and other precious metals, but in the formation process, molten iron sunk into the planet’s center. That molten iron formed what is now the core of the earth. As the iron descended, it took nearly all of Earth’s valuable metals along with it, including gold and platinum.
So if all of the good stuff is locked up in the middle of the Earth, you may be wondering how there’s any to go around. According to research conducted at the United Kingdom’s University of Bristol, the answer lies in the story of a meteor shower that occurred a couple hundred million years after the Earth formed.
To conduct its research, the University team gathered some of the world’s most ancient rocks from Greenland. The rocks are nearly 4 billion years old. They compared isotopes from the ancient rocks with more modern rocks to form their conclusion.
It is believed that the meteor shower returned precious metals to the earth’s surface and that subsequent geologic processes helped stir them into the earth’s mantle and concentrate them in ore deposits. They can be retrieved today from those ore deposits through mining processes.
It’s hard to imagine society today without precious metals, but we may not have had access to gold or any other of these metals if it hadn’t been for the fortunate meteor shower that targeted our planet.