10 Surprising Facts About Gold

Money Talks 7

1. Gold is a transcontinental element

There are several reasons why gold was a logical choice as the metal to back currencies around the globe. For one, everyone recognizes that gold is valuable, and therefore there is little dispute over its validity as a store of value. In addition, gold has been found on every continent on the planet aside from Antarctica.

2. Most of the gold on earth came from meteorites

Most scientists agree that most precious metals, gold included, were carried to earth by meteorites approximately 3.9 billion years ago. The theory goes that, around 4.55 billion years ago, iron and other precious metals on earth sunk inward, ultimately forming the earth’s core. So, gold and other precious metals that can be mined from the earth’s surface are most likely the result of meteorites that crashed the earth party long after the core was already formed.

3. Gold is edible (with certain caveats)

The first caveat being: please don’t try to bite into a brick of gold. That’s not going to end well.

4. Treat your body well, it is precious (gold, that is)

That’s right, the human body (even yours) contains trace elements of gold. Biologists believe that each human body contains about .2 milligrams of gold, though it can be almost impossible to pinpoint where the gold lies within a given body. But hey, next time you go to sell an organ, why not try to fetch an extra buck or two by mentioning that your kidney may come with gold included?

5. Gold is the Mr. Fantastic of elements

That is, gold will bend, stretch, flatten, or transform into any shape that you need it to. It is the most malleable element known to man, as its bonds can be fairly easily broken, allowing gold to transform from a solid to liquid state quite easily compared with other metals. Yet even after changing form, gold maintains strength, as it is thought that a gold thread can stretch as far as five miles without breaking.

6. Turn water into gold, all you need is an earthquake

Ask yourself: have you been letting earthquakes go to waste? If you don’t emerge from your next ‘quake with at least a trace amount of gold, you are doing it all wrong.

7. Looking for gold? Find some eucalyptus leaves

It turns out that those cute koalas you see on the National Geographic Channel have been steadily depleting the earth’s gold supply. Well, it’s probably not a loss when you consider the circle of life, but it is true that the koala’s favorite snack, eucalyptus leaves, may contain gold.

8. Gold is valuable, but there’s not that much of it

In fact, according to a calculation published in Forbes, all of the gold ever mined would fit in approximately 3.27 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

9. Scuba diving can be lucrative, but probably not if you’re out for gold

By some estimates, ocean water contains 20 million tons of gold, though it is so diluted that you can hardly bank on collecting any of it. To be clear: the gold is in the water.

10. Witwatersrand, South Africa: Home of Gold

It is estimated that nearly half of all of the gold ever mined comes from a region in South Africa called the Witwatersrand Basin. An estimated 2 billion ounces of gold have been mined from the basin in the past 100 years or so, and estimates peg the remaining gold in the basin at more than a billion ounces.

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