Gold is a wonder element and of course it is a metal. But of all metals, gold is one metal that is not truly indigenous to earth. Isn’t that pretty surprising? Well, today we have an interesting list of 40 gold facts that will make you react — ‘really?’ So, let us together explore some interesting facts about this interesting metal.
Interesting Gold Facts: 1-10
1. We just said that gold is not indigenous to earth. This simply means that whatever gold deposits we find on earth came from outer space. Meteorites that bombarded earth some 200 million years ago brought gold to earth.
2. Scientists believe that there is way more gold and other precious metals present in outer space than on earth and that asteroids are probably great sources of metals like gold, platinum and nickel. In fact, a company named Planetary Resources is planning on mining asteroids, especially the near-earth asteroid named Amun 3554. If they succeed, they will become the richest company on planet earth!
3. Did you know that the greatest gold reserves are in/on ocean beds? Billions of tons of gold are present in/on ocean bed and we don’t have the technology that can be used to mine them out in a cost effective way.
4. Now, if gold is present in ocean bed, it has to be present in ocean water. As a matter of fact, sea and ocean waters have about 20 million tons of gold dissolved in them! But the concentration of gold dissolved in water is too dilute. A liter of sea/ocean water contains no more than 13 billionths of one gram of gold. Again, we don’t have technology that can be used to mine that dissolved gold in a cost-effective way.
5. The total amount of gold present in oceans and sea (both dissolved and in/on ocean and sea bed) is enough to give 9 pounds of the metal to every single person on earth!
6. Gold is one metal that is present in every single continent in world (we mean that gold reserves and gold mines can be found in every single continent in this world).
7. Gold is edible! Yes, you can eat gold and it won’t kill you unless of course you decide to eat too much or just drink hot molten gold! In many Asian countries you will find gold being deliberately put in tea, coffee, jelly snacks and fruits.
8. Gold is naturally present in human body. Yes, you don’t need to eat gold to have gold in your body. It is already present in there. But hey, wait! Don’t just pull out your dagger and chop the first person to cross your sight to get the gold. An average person weighing 70 kilos will not have any more than 0.2 milligrams of gold and that too in a dissolved state.
9. The gold naturally present in human body is responsible for maintaining the joints in our body and also helps to maintain a good health. It is also important for transmitting electrical signals throughout the body.
10. Did you know that no matter where you mine gold, you will invariably find silica? This translates to the fact that even our body contains silica. Just 1.0 milligram of silica is present in human body but its role in human body and metabolism are completely unknown.
Interesting Gold Facts: 11-20
11. Gold is one of the two naturally occurring non-white colored metals. Gold is usually golden or yellow. The other metal is copper.
12. Gold is a noble metal. This simply means that it will not react to moist air or air and will not oxidize. It won’t even dissolve in acids.
13. Gold can however be dissolved in a solution known as aqua regia. Aqua regia is a special mixture made using several acids.
14. Because gold is a noble metal (i.e. it is unreactive), it is in a highly pure state, completely tasteless and odorless. A metal can get odor or flavor only when it is reactive.
15. Gold is extremely pliable and can be very easily converted into sewing thread! Did you know that just one ounce (28.3495 grams) of gold can be easily converted into 50 miles of thread measuring 5 microns (which is essentially 5 millionths of a meter)?
16. Purity of gold is measured in carats. 24 carat gold means 100% pure gold while 10 carat gold means 41.7% pure gold. Other purity measurements include 22 carats, 18 carats, 14 carats and 12 carats.
17. Gold less than 24 carats is mixed with other metals. Usually it is copper or silver but it can also be mixed with iron, nickel, zinc, palladium or platinum.
18. Gold is extremely malleable and can be easily beaten into a thin sheet. Just one ounce of the metal can be beaten down to sheet measuring 300 sq. ft. Also, it can be beaten thin enough to become nearly transparent.
19. Helmets’ visors of astronauts are usually covered using a thin coating of gold. This coating is extremely thin with a thickness of only 0.000002 inches. It is so thin that the helmet visor remains transparent but this thin coating is just enough to significantly reduce heat caused by sunlight and it also reduces glare.
20. Did you know that the oldest know worked gold-objects date back to 4000 B.C.? These objects belong to the ancient Thracian Civilization. Why is this incredible? Because that’s the era of the Stone Age!
Interesting Gold Facts: 21-30
21. Gold is an extremely rare metal. Till date, only 152,000 metric tons of gold has been mined. Do you really think that is a big amount? Think again! Do you know how much iron is mined worldwide every year? Well, that’s ONLY 907 million metric tons!
22. Gold nuggets are extremely rare. Nuggets are nothing but solid gold lumps. Of all the gold that has been mined till date on earth (known as native gold), gold nuggets make up only 2% of the entire volume.
23. The rarity of this precious metal can be understood by the fact that only 1 out of 1 billion rock atoms on earth are gold.
24. Did you know that 100% pure gold is very soft? As a matter of fact, it is so soft that it can be easily molded using bare hands.
25. Gold will melt only when the temperature reaches 2,063 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also a very good conductor of electricity and heat.
26. Did you know that pure gold never rusts or forms an oxide layer on its surface when it comes in contact with air? That’s because it is noble element. Because of this property, gold never irritates skin. If gold ornaments lead to skin irritation, it simply means that some other metal has been mixed with gold.
27. It is believed that ‘Golden Fleece’ was probably inspired by an ancient Egyptian practice of mining gold using unshorn sheepskin. They mined gold dust found in the sands of Black Sea beaches. This practice was used back in 1200 B.C.
28. The Aztec language refers to gold as ‘teocuitlatl’ which literally means ‘gods’ excrement’.
29. According to ancient Incas, gold was nothing but ‘sweat of sun’. Because sun was their most sacred deity, their love for gold was purely religious.
30. The largest ever gold nugget to be found was in 1869 in Australia’s Victoria. The nugget weighed 78 kilograms and when it was melted, it produced 71 kilograms of pure gold.
Interesting Gold Facts: 31-40
31. Do you know that mining gold is not easy and that the process is extremely unfriendly to our nature? Chemicals like lead, acid, borax, cyanide and lime are used in the mining process. Enormous amounts of electricity are also required in the mining process.
32. Most of the world’s gold is mined from South Africa. The mining conditions aren’t really good over there. Mines often go to the depths of 12,000 feet where temperatures can go as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Mining one ounce of this rare metal takes 1400 gallons of water, 38 man hours and enough electricity that can power up a large house for 10 days straight.
33. South Africa provides 500 tons of gold each year. To mine that yearly output 70 million tons of earth are raised every single year and then mined!
34. Did you know that the largest consumer of gold in entire world is India? Nearly 20% of world production is consumed by India.
35. Asian gold jewelry is purer than western gold jewelry. Most of Asian gold jewelries are 22 carats pure while western gold jewelries are 14 carats pure.
36. The first use of gold in dentistry dates back to 7 B.C.
37. 78% of yearly gold production goes for jewelry making. 12% is consumed by dental, medical, electrical and other industries and the remaining 10% goes in financial transactions.
38. Did you know that many physicians back in 14th century tried to treat bubonic plague by making patients drink a mixture of crushed emeralds and molten gold?
39. The chemical symbol of gold (Au) comes from ‘aurum’ which is a Latin word for ‘shining dawn’.
40. The major goal of alchemists around the world was to transmute lead and other base metals into gold. The practice reached its height in late Middle Age. Interestingly, modern nuclear chemistry is capable of achieving this. Lead, mercury and bismuth can be easily converted into gold but the process is too expensive and the production is way too little. An experiment was actually conducted where bismuth was converted into gold (both stable and radioactive isotopes) more than 30 years ago and it was reported that producing one ounce of gold using that method would cost over one quadrillion dollars during those days!
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