Where did gold appear on Earth
Yellow metal, a simple chemical element with atomic number 79. The subject of desire of people at all times, a measure of value, a symbol of wealth and power. How many human lives were ruined for the sake of owning this metal !? And how much more will be destroyed? Unlike iron or, for example, aluminum, gold on Earth is very small. Throughout its history, mankind has mined gold as much as it mines iron in one day. But where did this metal come from on Earth? ...
It is believed that the Solar System was formed from the remnants of a supernova exploded once in deep antiquity. The synthesis of chemical elements heavier than hydrogen and helium took place in the depths of that ancient star. But in the depths of the stars, elements heavier than iron cannot be synthesized, and therefore, gold could not have been formed as a result of thermonuclear reactions in stars. So, where did this metal in general appear in the universe?
It seems that astronomers can now answer this question. Gold cannot be born in the depths of the stars.But it can be formed as a result of grandiose cosmic catastrophes, which scientists routinely call gamma-ray bursts (GW).
Astronomers closely watched one of these gamma-ray bursts. The observational data give quite serious reasons to believe that this powerful flash of gamma radiation was produced by the collision of two neutron stars — the dead nuclei of stars that were killed in a supernova explosion. In addition, the unique glow, which remained in place of HB for several days, indicates that during this catastrophe a significant amount of heavy elements, including gold, was formed.
“According to our estimates, the amount of gold formed and ejected into space during the merger of two neutron stars may contribute to more than 10 lunar masses,” said study lead author Edo Berger from the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Center (CfA) during the CfA press conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Neutron star fusion
The gamma-ray burst (GW) is a flash of gamma radiation from an extremely energetic explosion. Most HBs are found in very remote areas of the universe.Berger and his colleagues studied the object GRB 130603B, located at a distance of 3.9 billion light years. This is one of the closest GWs seen to date.
GW are of two types - long and short, depending on how long a gamma-ray outbreak lasts. The flash duration of GRB 130603B, recorded by NASA's Swift satellite, was less than two tenths of a second.
Although the gamma radiation itself disappeared quickly, the GRB 130603B continued to shine in infrared rays. The brightness and behavior of this light did not correspond to the typical afterglow, which occurs when the particles are bombarded by accelerated particles. The luminescence of GRB 130603B behaved as if it comes from decaying radioactive elements. A substance rich in neutrons emitted in a collision of neutron stars can turn into heavy radioactive elements. The radioactive decay of such elements generates infrared radiation characteristic of GRB 130603B. This is exactly what the astronomers observed.
According to the calculations of the group, during the explosion, substances with a mass of about one hundredth of the sun were ejected. And part of this substance was golden.Approximately assessing the amount of gold produced during this HB and the number of such explosions that occurred in the entire history of the Universe, astronomers came to the conclusion that all gold in the Universe, including on Earth, may have been formed during such gamma-ray bursts. .
Here is another interesting, but terribly controversial version:
In the process of forming the Earth, molten iron descended down to its center to form its core, carrying with it most of the precious metals of the planet, such as gold and platinum. In general, the precious metals in the core will be enough to cover them with a layer of four-meter thickness of the entire surface of the Earth.
Moving gold into the core was supposed to deprive the outer part of the earth of this treasure. However, the prevalence of noble metals in the silicate mantle of the Earth exceeds the calculated values of tens and thousands of times. The idea that this super-abundance that has fallen on its head is caused by a catastrophic meteor shower, which has overtaken the Earth after the formation of its core, has already been discussed. The whole mass of meteorite gold, therefore, entered the mantle separately and did not disappear deep inside.
To test this theory, Dr. Matthias Willbold and Professor Tim Elliot from the Bristol isotopic group at the School of Earth Sciences analyzed Greenland professor Stephen Murbat of Oxford University, which is about 4 billion years old. These ancient stones provide a unique picture of the composition of our planet soon after the formation of the core, but before the proposed meteorite bombardment.
Then scientists began to investigate the content of tungsten-182 and in meteorites, which are called chondrites, is one of the main building materials of the solid part of the solar system. On Earth, unstable hafnium-182 decomposes to form tungsten-182. But in space due to cosmic rays, this process does not occur. As a result, it became clear that samples of ancient rocks contain 13% more tungsten-182 compared to younger rocks. This gives geologists grounds to assert that when the Earth already had solid crust, about 1 million trillion (10 to the 18th degree) tons of asteroid and meteoritic material fell on it, which had a lower content of tungsten-182, but much more than in the earth's crust, the content of heavy elements, in particular gold.
Being a very rare element (a kilogram of rock accounts for only about 0.1 milligram of tungsten), like gold and other precious metals, it had to enter the core at the time of its formation. Like most other elements, tungsten is divided into several isotopes - atoms with similar chemical properties, but slightly different masses. According to the isotopes, it is possible to judge with confidence about the origin of the substance, and the mixing of meteorites with the Earth should have left characteristic traces in the composition of its tungsten isotopes.
Dr. Willbold noticed a 15 ppm reduction in the number of the isotope of tungsten-182 in modern breed compared to Greenland.
This small, but significant change perfectly agrees with what was required to prove - that the excess gold available on Earth is a positive side effect of meteorite bombardment.
Dr. Willbold says: “Extraction of tungsten from stone samples and analysis with the necessary accuracy of its isotopic composition were extremely difficult, taking into account the small amount of tungsten available in stones.In fact, we became the first laboratory in the world that successfully performed measurements of this level. ”
Fallen meteorites mixed with the earth's mantle in the course of giant convection processes. The maximum task for the future is to determine the duration of this mixing. Subsequently, geological processes formed the continents and led to the concentration of precious metals (as well as tungsten) in the ore deposits, which is mined today.
Dr. Willbold continues: “The results of our work show that most of the precious metals on which our economy and many key production processes are based were brought to our planet by luck, when about 20 quintillion tons of asteroid substance covered the Earth.”
Thus, we owe our gold reserves to the real flow of valuable elements that have appeared on the surface of the planet due to the massive asteroid “bombardment”. Then, during the course of the Earth’s development over the past billions of years, gold entered the circulation of rocks, appearing on its surface and hiding again in the depths of the upper mantle.
But now his path to the core is closed, and a large amount of this gold is simply doomed to be in our hands.
And another opinion of another scientist:
“The origin of gold remained unexplained, because, unlike lighter elements such as carbon or iron, it cannot form directly inside the star,” admitted one of the researchers at the Edo Berger Center.
The scientist came to this conclusion, watching the gamma-ray bursts - large-scale cosmic emissions of radioactive energy caused by the collision of two neutron stars. The gamma-ray burst was seen by NASA Swift spacecraft and lasted only two tenths of a second. And after the explosion there was a glow that gradually disappeared. The glow of the collision of such celestial bodies indicates the release of a large number of heavy elements, experts say. And the proof that heavy elements formed after the explosion can be considered infrared light in their spectrum.
“The fact is that neutron-rich substances emitted during the collapse of neutron stars can generate elements that undergo radioactive decay, while emitting a glow mainly in the infrared range,” explained Berger.“And we suppose that during a gamma-ray burst, approximately one-hundredth of the material of the solar mass, including gold, is ejected. Moreover, the amount of gold produced and ejected during the merger of two neutron stars can be comparable with a mass of 10 moons. And the cost of such a quantity of the precious metal would be equal to 10 dollar per billion dollars - this is 100 trillion squared.
For reference, an octillion is a million septillion or a million in the seventh power; a number equal to 1042 and written in the decimal system as a unit with 42 zeros.
Also today, scientists have established the fact that almost all gold (and other heavy elements) on Earth is of cosmic origin. Gold, it turns out, fell to Earth as a result of asteroid bombardment, which occurred in the distant past after the solidification of the crust of our planet.
Virtually all heavy metals "drowned" in the mantle of the Earth at the very early stage of the formation of our planet, it was they who formed a solid metal core in the center of the Earth.
Alchemists of the 20th century
Back in 1940, American physicists A. Sherr and K. T. Bainbridge of Harvard University began to irradiate neutrons with elements adjacent to gold — mercury and platinum.And it is quite expected, having irradiated mercury, gold isotopes with mass numbers 198, 199 and 200 were obtained. Their difference from natural natural Au-197 is that the isotopes are unstable and, emitting beta rays, a maximum of several days again turn into mercury with mass the numbers 198,199 and 200.
But still it was great: for the first time, a person was able to independently create the necessary elements. It soon became clear how you can get a real, stable gold-197. This can be done using only the isotope of mercury-196. This isotope is quite rare - its content in ordinary mercury with a mass number of 200 is about 0.15%. It must be bombarded with neutrons to obtain unstable mercury-197, which, having captured the electron, will turn into stable gold.
However, calculations showed that if you take 50 kg of natural mercury, then it will be only 74 grams of mercury-196. For transmutation into gold, the reactor can produce a neutron flux of 10 to the 15th power of neutrons per square meter. cm per second. Given that 74 g of mercury-196 contains about 2.7 per 10 to the 23rd power of atoms, it would take four and a half years to completely transmute mercury to gold. This synthetic gold is infinitely more expensive than gold from the earth.But this meant that for the formation of gold in space, giant neutron fluxes are also needed. And the explosion of two neutron stars explained everything.
And more details about gold:
German scientists have calculated that in order to bring the volume of precious metals present today to Earth, only 160 metal asteroids were needed, each about 20 km in diameter. Experts note that the geological analysis of various noble metals shows that all of them appeared on our planet at about the same time, but on the Earth itself there were no conditions for their natural origin. That is what prompted experts to the space theory of the appearance of noble metals on the planet.
The word "gold", according to linguists, comes from the Indo-European term "yellow" as a reflection of the most prominent characteristics of this metal. This fact is confirmed by the fact that the pronunciation of the word "gold" in different languages seems to be, for example, Gold (in English), Gold (in German), Guld (in Danish), Gulden (in Dutch), Gull ( in Norwegian), Kulta (in Finnish).
Gold in the bowels of the earth
The core of our planet contains 5 times more gold than all the other rocks available for development combined.If all the gold of the core of the Earth had spilled to the surface, it would have covered the entire planet with a layer half a meter thick. Interestingly, in every liter of water of all rivers, seas and oceans dissolved about 0.02 milligrams of gold.
It was determined that for all the time the noble metal was mined, about 145 thousand tons were extracted from the depths (according to other sources - about 200 thousand tons). Gold production is growing from year to year, but the main growth came at the end of the 1970s.
The purity of gold is determined in various ways. Carat (in the United States and Germany spelled “Karat”) was originally a unit of mass based on the seed of the carob tree (similar to the word “carat”) used by ancient traders in the Middle East. Carat today is mainly used in measuring the weight of gems (1 carat = 0.2 grams).
Gold purity can also be measured in carats. This tradition dates back to ancient times, when carats in the Middle East became the measure of the purity of gold alloys. The British gold carat is a nonmetric unit of assessment of the gold content in alloys, equal to 1/24 of the mass of the alloy. Pure gold corresponds to 24 carats. The purity of gold today is also measured by the concept of chemical purity, that is, thousandths of pure metal in the mass of the alloy.So, 18 carats is 18/24 and in terms of thousandths corresponds to the 750th sample.
As a result of natural concentration, only about 0.1% of all gold contained in the earth's crust is available, at least theoretically, for mining, however, due to the fact that gold is found in the native state, brightly glitters and is easily noticeable, it became the first metal, with who met the man. But natural nuggets are rare, so the most ancient method of extracting rare metal, based on a high density of gold, is the washing of gold-bearing sands. “Extraction of washing gold requires only mechanical means, and therefore it is not surprising that gold was known even by savages in the most ancient historical times” (D.I. Mendeleev).
But there was almost no rich gold placers left, and already at the beginning of the 20th century 90% of all gold was mined from ores. Now many gold placers are practically exhausted, therefore, mainly gold ore is mined, the extraction of which is largely mechanized, but production remains difficult, as it is often located deep underground. In recent decades, the share of more profitable open-cast mining has steadily increased.The field is economically profitable to develop if a ton of ore contains only 2-3g of gold, and with a content of more than 10 g / t, it is considered rich. It is significant that the costs of prospecting and exploration for new gold deposits make up from 50 to 80% of all the costs of geological exploration.
Now South Africa is the largest supplier of gold to the world market, where the mines have already reached 4 km depth. South Africa has the largest Baal Reef mine in Kleksdorp. South Africa is the only country where gold is the main product of production. There it is mined at 36 large mines, which employ hundreds of thousands of people.
In Russia, gold is mined from ore and placer deposits. Researchers differ on the beginning of its extraction. Apparently, the first domestic gold was mined in 1704 from Nerchinsk ores along with silver. In subsequent decades, at the Moscow Mint, gold was isolated from silver, which contained some gold as an impurity (about 0.4%). So, in 1743-1744. “2820 gold coins with the image of Elizabeth Petrovna were made of gold found in silver produced at the Nerchinsk factories.
The first gold placer in Russia was discovered in the spring of 1724 by a peasant Yerofei Markov near Yekaterinburg. Its operation began only in 1748. The mining of Ural gold slowly but steadily expanded. At the beginning of the 19th century, new gold deposits were discovered in Siberia. The discovery (in the 1840s) of the Yenisei deposit brought Russia to the first place in the world in gold mining, but even before that, local Evenki hunters made bullets from gold nuggets for hunting. At the end of the XIX century, Russia mined about 40 tons of gold per year, of which 93% was placer. All in all, until 1917, according to official data, 2754 tons of gold were mined in Russia, but according to expert estimates, about 3000 tons, with a maximum in 1913 (49 tons), when gold reserves reached 1684 tons.
With the discovery of rich gold-bearing regions in the USA (California, 1848; Colorado, 1858; Nevada, 1859), Australia (1851), South Africa (1884), Russia lost its primacy in gold mining, despite the fact that new fields were put into operation, mainly in Eastern Siberia.
Gold mining was carried out in Russia by semi-handicraft, mainly placer deposits were developed. Over half of the gold mines were in the hands of foreign monopolies.Currently, the share of production from alluvial deposits is gradually decreasing, amounting to a little more than 50 tons by 2007. Less than 100 tons are mined from ore deposits. The final processing of gold is carried out at the refineries, the leading of which is the Krasnoyarsk plant of non-ferrous metals. It accounts for refining (cleaning of impurities, obtaining metal samples 99.99%), about 50% of gold mined and most of the platinum and palladium mined in Russia.
Gold production in Russia averages about 170 tons per year: 150 tons are mined from gold deposits and about 20 tons are associated and secondary production. The cost of production per ounce varies widely, strongly depends on the quality of reserves, the type of production, the method of processing, and is approximately $ 150-550 per ounce.
How much gold is in the world?
Imagine for a moment that you are a supervillain who took possession of all the gold in the world and decided to melt it into a huge cube. How huge will he get?
Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, somehow calculated that the "cube" would not be so big. Its sides will not exceed 20 meters - if we talk about the gold mined in history.
Even with the use of modern technology, gold is still very hard to find.To date, according to some estimates, 160,000 tons of gold have been mined. In fact, it is less than you think. If all the mined gold is melted into a golden cube, then it will easily fit into a tennis court, and even be shorter by 2 meters. And this is all the gold of the world !!!
About 2,600 tons of gold are mined per year, i.e. a production increase of 1.6% per year. Thus, the newly mined gold increases the gold cube by 11 cm per year. Now such a hypothetical cube of all the gold of the world is equal to 20.2 meters diagonally. Such a cube of world gold will completely cover the tennis court when the world will produce 205,000 tons of gold. This should happen in 2025.
205,000 tons is the sum of current gold reserves (approximately 160,000 tons) plus known, but not yet mined, reserves of gold mining companies (approximately 45,000 tons). This is all world gold today - already mined and still in the ground.
Thomson Reuters GFMS, which annually updates these data, informs investors about the global gold reserves of investors. According to her latest calculations, it turns out that today we have 171,300 tons of this metal - just enough to fill a cube, even a little more. But not everyone agrees with the GFMS figures. Estimates vary from 155,244 to 2.5 million tons. Where does this huge difference come from?
This is partly due to the fact that gold has been mined for a very long time - more than 6 thousand years.
The first gold coins were minted around 550 BC. Lydian king Croesus on the territory of modern Turkey. They quickly became a universal means of paying for goods and services in the Mediterranean region.
By 1492, at the time Columbus sailed to the shores of America, in the world, according to GFMS, 12,780 tons were produced. However, the founder of Gold Money, James Turk, believes that this figure is too high, since the gold mining technique was too primitive before the Middle Ages. From his point of view, at that time, the weight of all the mined gold was only 297 tons. So, the final figure should be about 10% lower than the Thompson Reuters GFMS estimate, that is, 155,244 tons.
Let's go far back in time. It is already difficult to say when, for the first time, a man turned his attention to gold. In those days, he could not have thought about how to use this material. In Egypt, gold was called "noob", it is believed that the name of the country, Nubia, originated from him, in which the Egyptians mined gold. The gold that they mined by the 7th century BC equal to about three thousand tons.
It became the envy of neighbors. And in 571, Dr.Sc. the era was seized by the Assyrians. But after only fifty years, gold became part of Babylon. By this time, hundreds of tons of the precious metal brought from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar were collected in Babylon.
But Babylon also became the object of envy over time. At that time, almost two million people lived in it, the city was surrounded by triple inaccessible walls, it would seem that it does not threaten, but ... The city was stormed and taken by the troops of the Persian king Cyrus the Great. The next king (Darius) began minting gold coins from this gold - Dariqi (8.4 g.).
It is not difficult to guess that Persia fell under the blows of Macedonia. All gold and silver was loaded on 5,000 camels and 10,000 carts! Only from Macedonia alone, Alexander of Macedon concentrated more than 5,000 tons of gold. This is without counting gold from other countries in India and Central Asia!
Over time, all wealth migrated to Rome. It was gold that helped the corruption of the “city of Rome and the world.” During these times in Rome, as much gold was collected as there was never in free circulation all over the world.
History repeats itself ... The richer we become, the stronger is the envy of our neighbors.Such a person is by nature ... One of the kings of the vandals could smuggle out 600 tons of gold from the destroyed Rome in the V century. Do not forget on the way to rob all the Mediterranean countries.
Historians can not understand why the amount of gold in the world began to decrease after the fall of Constantinople in 1204. The next round gets the story from the discovery of the New World. In the early years of discovery, 900 kg of gold was brought to Spain. And then for two hundred years 2,600 tons were taken from the New World
Do we have enough gold?
The truth is hidden behind seven seals, because in the end all calculations are based on assumptions that may be erroneous.
With confidence we can only say that in the near future we are not threatened to be left without gold. According to the estimates of the US Geological Survey, the volume of gold only in explored deposits amounts to 52 thousand tons, but surely there are also undiscovered ones.
However, there is also a reason for concern. Until now, gold did not disappear anywhere, some products were simply melted into others.
"All the gold mined is still with us. If you are a happy owner of gold watches, then there is every chance that they are at least partly made of gold mined by the Romans," notes James Turke.
However, today gold is increasingly used in the electronics industry, and sometimes in such microscopic volumes that it is not economically viable to extract it from the products that have served their time. And this is the first time in history that leads to irretrievable losses of precious metal.
All these treasures that are listed here - no! Where are they? Not a single coin of Caesar, A. Macedonian and other equally important kings reached us. Only those insignificant quantities of gold that were stored in the graves of the pyramids or lost due to disasters have reached us. For example, Pompeii died from a volcanic eruption.
Someone will say - it is worn out in powder and scattered around the world. But don't you think it's that easy? Everything is more complicated here ... Go down to the ground and see what happened in the near future.
Rich placers of gold nuggets were found in 1814 by Brusnitsky in the Urals. Then deposits were found in Transbaikalia (now the Trans-Baikal Territory) in the Amur region, on the Lena. For a hundred years, these deposits gave up to 17 years for Russia more than 3,000 tons of gold.
By the beginning of the Second World War, the first crisis had arisen in the world, it did not affect only the USA. Since by this time in the United States contained 21,800 tons of gold.The USSR at that time had a reserve of 2,600 tons. We should not forget that after the war we had to pay our debt in favor of the United States with pure gold. It is not difficult to guess that all the gold in the world went to America. We gave our debt, but England did not return to us 440 tons of gold, which owed us even with the king.
Some investors are willing to believe these calculations, but many analysts accept Turk’s calculations with hostility, and one of them even remarked on this that comparing Turk with GFMS is the same thing as seriously considering the religion of the Jedi on a par with Christianity.
The ancients knew a lot about the yellow metal: Tutankhamen’s golden sarcophagus weighed 110 kg
However, there are those who are convinced that both Turk and GFMS greatly underestimate the numbers.
“Tutankhamen’s golden sarcophagus alone weighed more than 100 kg, but can you imagine how much gold was in other tombs that were ransacked, leaving no records,” says Jen Skoyles from investment firm The Real Asset Company.
If James Turk only slightly corrects the GFMS figures for gold mined after 1492, Sköls indicates that even today, not all gold-mining countries are willing to share accurate data.And in some parts of the world, illegal mining without any official record is flourishing.
Skoles does not give specific numbers, but an independent Gold Standard Institute tried to do this for her.
His experts suggested that if all bank cells and jewelry boxes were empty, we would find at least two and a half million tons of gold.
Where did gold appear on Earth
Where did gold appear on Earth
Where did gold appear on Earth
Where did gold appear on Earth
Where did gold appear on Earth