Earth Money Physics

The Earth, in Part, Has a Golden Heart

Did you know the Earth’s core is estimated to contain enough gold to coat the planet’s surface with a solid layer 1.5 feet thick? Somewhere within is 1.6 quadrillion tons of gold by one geologist’s estimate. There is also likely 9.6 quadrillion tons of even heavier platinum, but the core precious metals are probably mixed with a vast majority of iron and nickel.

Bernard Wood, a geologist now at the University of Oxford in the U.K., calculated that there are 1.6 quadrillion tons of gold in the Earth’s core, or enough to coat the planet’s surface in a 1.5-foot layer. He thinks there is also six times that amount of platinum another precious metal as well as nickel, niobium and other “iron-loving” elements down there. Wood formed this hypothesis after analyzing the metal content of meteorites that are similar to “planetesimals” small bodies that crashed together to form Earth at the dawn of the solar system. He found that these meteorites have much more gold, platinum and the other stuff distributed throughout them than does the surface of the Earth, and deduced that the iron in the Earth’s core must have drawn these elements inward during the planet’s formation.
Though 1.6 quadrillion tons is a huge quantity by Earth’s-surface-standards, gold atoms still make up just one millionth of the total number of atoms in the core. Meteorites, as well as the mass and density of Earth (deduced from how it perturbs the orbits of the moon and other planets), lead scientists to believe that the vast bulk of the core is iron and nickel.
Via discovermag

Valentine’s Day earth fact: There is a vast amount of gold within, in a pressured place we’ve never been. Good luck though; it’s too intense, (too hot and dense,) and it’s buffered by a mundane immense expanse of cheaper ore.

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