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Gold
Bid : 3,629.54/oz
Ask : 3,640.43/oz
Silver
Bid : 43.33/oz
Ask: 43.46/oz
Platinum
Bid: 1,513.14/oz
Ask : 1,552.49/oz
Refresh in 00:00

The Scientific Story of Gold – New Insights Into How Earth’s Precious Metals Formed

October 18, 2023

Scientists from Yale University and the Southwest Research Institute have unveiled new findings that provide valuable insights into how gold and other precious metals ended up closer to Earth’s surface rather than deep within its core, as originally hypothesized. 

Through their research, Jun Korenaga from Yale and Simone Marchi from SwRI have pieced together a revised theory on the formation of siderophile elements like gold that sheds light on planet formation throughout the universe.

It is widely accepted that initial collisions between the early Earth and large planetary bodies billions of years ago deposited much of these metals. However, the exact process by which gold and other siderophile elements were absorbed into proto-Earth remained unclear. 

As elements are strongly attracted to iron, they should have collected almost entirely within Earth’s metallic core. Yet significant deposits have been found nearer the surface as well.

Korenaga and Marchi’s theory centers on a transient region in Earth’s mantle that formed after violent asteroid impacts. In this thin layer where part of the mantle melted while the deeper portion remained solid, falling metallic components became temporarily trapped. 

Their model suggests this transient zone possessed unique dynamic properties that efficiently sequestered siderophile elements and gradually delivered them throughout the mantle over eons.

Remnants of this transient region may appear today as geophysical anomalies known as large low-shear-velocity provinces deep within the mantle. The researchers contend such a transient area nearly always develops after a massive impact, making their proposed formation mechanism robust.

Most remarkably, while the transient mantle’s dynamics occurred rapidly within about a day, it has influenced Earth’s geochemistry and geophysics for billions of years – shedding light on the range of timescales involved in planetary evolution.

This new theory not only explains previously puzzling evidence but also advances scientific understanding of gold’s unexpected natural presence nearer the Earth’s surface.

In summarizing the key findings, Korenaga and Marchi have provided valuable new insights into how the scientific story of gold and our planet’s precious metals came to be through analysis of primordial collisions and mantle geophysics. Their work offers clues applicable to interpreting the formation histories of worlds across the cosmos.

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