What is the origin of gold?

A group of scientists from the University of Granada, the Géosciences Environnement Toulouse, the University of Chile, and the Macquarie University have unveiled research that has made a solid contribution to establishing of the metal

What is the origin of gold?

The origin of gold has been one of the most intriguing puzzles for scientists around the world in modern history. While gold is not the rarest metal on Earth, it was used as a reference by ancient civilizations to put price and value on things. Studies in 2007 stated that if all the gold that has been extracted throughout history was grouped together, it could only fill 3.2 Olympic swimming pools, which seems little due to the importance of this golden metal in today's economy.

The research discovered that the gold came to the Earth's surface from the deepest regions of our planet

Scientists, led by University of Granada’s professor and geologist José María González Jiménez, published an article in Nature Communications magazine, in which they reported that gold was dispersed and accumulated in deposits on the surface after it left the deepest regions of the planet, about 70 kilometers underground, due to tectonic formation movements.

The evidence was found in the Patagonia region of Argentina, an area that due to the constant volcanic eruptions brings with it fragments known as 'xenolites'; particles of gold as thin as human hair have been found and whose origin is the deep mantle, 70 kilometers deep. According to geologists, Earth is divided into three large layers: crust, mantle, and core.

González Jiménez affirms that the mantle of this region is very particular because it has the tendency to generate gold deposits on its surface;"200 million years ago, when Africa and South America were part of the same continent, its separation was caused, among other factors, by the rise of a 'mantle feather' (narrow columns of material that exist under the earth's crust and produce hot spots) that broke the crust (more thin and fragile) and caused the separation of the two continents”, Jimenez explained.

"What we propose is that beneath the Macizo del Deseado in Argentina's Patagonia, where there are numerous gold deposits in exploitation, it was at some point enriched in this noble metal, and that was the source from which gold was extracted”, presented González.

With this new hypothesis about the origin of this precious metal, science will be able to focus less on detecting gold veins on the crust, but rather on exploring the depths of the mantle, which is where González Jiménez and his team say it is formed.


Latin American Post | Juan Felipe Guerrero

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto 

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