Jul 18, 2019 | Updated: 10:03 AM EDT

Gold on Earth Could Be Result of Ancient Neutron-Star Colluision

May 13, 2019 10:39 AM EDT

Gold 30g for a 860kg rock
(Photo : World Imaging)
Gold 30g extracted from 860kg rock

Gold has been regarded as the most notoriously precious metal on Earth. It occurs naturally and is one of the less reactive metals. About half of the total gold supply has been used for jewelry production, while the other half is used for investments and industrial purposes. This makes the metal highly valuable in terms of trade.

One of the reasons why the precious metal is priced at a high rate in the market is because of the challenge in harvesting it. Gold occurs as nuggets or grains and is mined for in rocks, within veins, and some in alluvial deposits. The process of harvesting gold would entail the use of heavy and large machinery designed specifically for mining gold. After the mining process, comes the refining process. Preparing gold for marketing takes a lot of time, resources, and energy. For example, 860 kilograms of gold ore can produce only 30 grams of gold.

Research recently published states earth's gold, even though it has been around for a long time, did not come from the same place as the rest of the Earth.

Szabolcs Marka from Columbia University and Imra Bartos from the University of Florida published their research that focuses on the nearby neutron star merger which is speculated to be most likely the source for several metals that are found on the modern-day Earth. They explained that the two neutron stars, located 300 parsecs away, smashed into each other and splashed out bits of matter 4.6 billion years ago. Bits that flew off from the collision landed to rest in the Solar System. The said event took place about 80 million years before the solar system was formed. Scientists date the solar system to be 4.571 billion years in age.

To explain, the Milky Way, where the solar system is located, is said to be 100,000 light years in diameter. 300 parsecs is about 1000 light years from where the solar system is currently located.

The recent research suggests that about 0.3% of the heaviest elements on the planet came from the said collision. Such metals include platinum, gold, and uranium as well.

Barton stated that the research sheds light on the processes involved in the composition and the origin of the solar system. The scientists are optimistic about their findings as it could initiate a new type of collaborative work between disciplines in solving the cosmic puzzle. Bartos is pertaining to disciplines such as chemistry, geology, and even biology.

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