minerals

Is gold (literally) everywhere around us?

It sounds like something out of an Austin Powers movie, but could gold be created within an instant? Recently, scientists have been reporting that non typical objects such as water have literally been turning into gold.

Now, this isn’t a cause to quit your day job, there are huge amounts of global-sized factors in play. But it’s still pretty cool.

Water into gold

Approximately 10 kilometres beneath the Earth’s surface, where it is incredibly hot and high-pressured, water that flows through fracture and fault lines is rich in high concentrations of elements, which include gold.

In early 2013, Australian researchers found that gold could be instantaneously formed during an earthquake. When a fluid-filled rock fracture receives a sudden drop in pressure, the gold particles in solution leach out and change from a soluble state into highly concentrated deposits of gold.

The amount of gold created after an earthquake is minimal as the concentrations of gold particles is small. However, in parts of the world such as New Zealand’s Alpine Fault that lie on very active fault lines, there is the possibility of seeing mineable amounts of gold in the next 100,000 years, according to geoscientist, Jamie Wilkinson.

Bacteria

The word bacteria doesn’t conjure up the most pleasant of images in people’s minds, but that could change with the news that they could be used to help ions turn into solid gold.

A study by researchers at McMaster University found that a certain type of bacteria – Delftia acidovorans – turns toxic gold ions that are dissolved in water into harmless particles as a defense mechanism.

Although the size and amount of gold particles produced are minimal (you need a microscope to see them), this discovery could open several scientific doors. Gold sellers [link?] could have a field day with this.

Meteorites into gold

Research suggests that the Earth’s gold (as well as platinum and other precious metals) could have been brought here during meteorite impacts. In fact, researchers have even put a date on the deposit – around 3.9 billion years ago.

A huge meteorite storm brought with it a range of new metals, which were deposited in the Earth’s crust, say some. Earth scientists have shown that the Earth should not contain metals like gold as they would have melted into the core, which gives further proof that meteorites were the source of many precious metals.

Some dispute these claims, citing the fact that sedimentary rocks should contain large amounts of precious metals if this had occurred, but they don’t.

Sources:

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/03/18/3716298.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/02/04/3682812.htm

http://www.goldsmart.co.nz/gold-smart-blog/interesting-news/ultimate-gold-bugs-insects-produce-gold-jewellery

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/02/06/scientists-discover-how-bacteria-changes-ions-into-gold/

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128294.200-meteorite-storm-showered-planet-in-gold.html#.Uq601M2cG5A

 

 

Cite this article:
Lee M (2014-01-13 00:15:55). Is gold (literally) everywhere around us?. Australian Science. Retrieved: Nov 27, 2014, from http://www.australianscience.com.au/news/is-gold-literally-everywhere-around-us/

Michelle Lee

AUTHOR: Michelle Lee

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