Where Does Gold Come From?

By Commodity HQ  JUL 26, 2013 11:00 AM

The yellow metal -- and four others -- probably comes from space, illustrating just how rare they are.

 


Gold is one of history’s most famous and important metals and has been the basis for monetary systems for thousands of years. This influential metal that has sculpted our history may not even be from our planet. Researchers have recently found new evidence that gold actually comes from the collisions of dead neutron stars. While this discovery may do little as a price mover for this precious metal, it may give us an insight into just how rare gold is.

Eyes on the Sky

Astronomers have long known that fusion reactions in the cores of stars create elements such as carbon and oxygen, the building blocks of our existence, but they also wondered if these stars could form something heavier. After a decade of searching the skies, Edo Berger, the lead researcher at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, announced his team has captured images of the explosions that create gold.

When two massive stars with collapsed cores, which are quite rare, crash into each other, the violent merger is followed by an odd glow that lasted days around the crash site. Infrared light in the glow has led researchers to believe there are heavy metals, such as gold, produced from the collision.

Looking Beyond Earth for Metal

There is still much research to be done to prove this hypothesis on the origins of gold, but there are already a number of metals that researches believe come from beyond our world:
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Editor's note: This article by Carolyn Pairitz was originally published on Commodity HQ.
No positions in stocks mentioned.