Gold is not found on Earth. It is found in space, where stars consist of hydrogen and helium. Stars generate energy through nuclear fusion within their cores. Eventually, they collapse and a massive stellar explosion occurs. As the pressure from collapsing stars builds up, the protons and electrons are forced to merge into a single neutron. Neutrons are lighter and carry no electric charge, so they can easily gather together. Gold is then formed.
Natural sources of gold
There are many theories about the origins of gold, but the most compelling one is that it originates in a gamma-ray burst created by the explosion of a supernova. Another theory says that gold formed when the earth’s crust was intruded by a hot magma. Today, we can mimic this process by looking at active geothermal systems. Geothermal water originates from rainfall and moves upward and downward through fractures. As the water warms, it dissolves metals from surrounding rocks, resulting in gold.
Gold can be found naturally deep in the earth. It is transported by water, molten lava, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and other natural processes. Geologists have found gold in rocks as old as 4.5 billion years old. Gold is particularly abundant in Witwatersrand, the richest gold mining area in the world. It lies within a 300-km-radius crater thought to have been shaped by a meteorite strike over 2 billion years ago. This has reinforced the idea that asteroids brought gold to earth.
Properties of gold
Gold is a metallic element that is widely distributed in the earth’s crust. The background level of gold is approximately 0.03 g/1000 kg or ppm by weight. It is highly dense, and tends to concentrate in streambeds. Gold is found as flakes and nuggets, which are recovered by panning. Gold is associated with quartz and pyrite. This makes it particularly valuable as a precious metal.
The earth’s crust is abundant with gold, which occurs in trace amounts in all igneous rocks. Its abundance in the Earth’s crust is 0.005 parts per million, with the rest in other forms. Most gold in nature is found in its native state, as it is present in the form of a native metal, as opposed to being combined with other substances. It is found in placer deposits, hydrothermal veins, and sulfide rocks.
Locations of gold deposits
Many gold deposits in the world are formed from the movement of ground waters heated by magma that has intruded into the Earth’s crust within two to five miles of the surface. This active geothermal system is a modern analog of this gold-depositing process. Hot water rises and flows downward through fractures, where it dissolves metals from the surrounding rocks. Locations of gold deposits in nature vary greatly.
Several places on Earth contain gold, including rocky mountainsides and seabeds. Ancient deposits were formed in volcanic belts and greenstone beds. Modern deposits are found in Canada and Zimbabwe. Other locations include streams and places where placer deposits were swept into rivers or lakes. Sometimes the deposits are even found on the sea floor. Gold deposits in nature vary greatly from location to location, because the host rocks are not uniform.
Demand for gold
There are two main theories regarding the demand for gold. One theory suggests that it has a finite supply and demand relationship. The other suggests that gold is a non-renewable commodity, and its supply will continue to increase despite a depressed demand. The latter is widely discredited by gold traders. Fortunately, there are still several factors that contribute to gold’s price. Let’s examine each of them to find out what the most likely scenario is.
According to some analysts, the demand for gold is expected to increase by nearly four percent by 2020. The rising price of gold has made it a solid investment. It has increased in value by 50% since 1970. Moreover, it is more durable than most other metals, and investors are increasingly turning to it as a store of value. A few major global risks are also contributing to the increased demand for gold. Some of these are the U.S.-China trade war, Middle Eastern politics, the U.S.-Saudi relationship, Brexit, and European populism.