An Origin Story: Where Does Gold Come From?

Where Does Gold Come From?


Written by John Rothans

Feb 26, 2020

A rare and precious material crashes onto our planet from the far reaches of space. Its beauty inspires artists and leaders of nations alike, and millions of people hold on to it for generations.

It sounds like the plot of a summer blockbuster, right? But it isn’t. What we’re talking about here is physical gold.

Have you ever wondered what led to that meteoric crash? What happened immediately afterward? Where does gold come from?

One Theory of How Gold Came to Be

Here’s the presumed process behind the prevailing theory about gold’s origins:

  1. Heat raging inside the universe’s early stars fused lighter elements together, such as hydrogen and helium.
  2. Over time, this fusion process created new elements like carbon and nitrogen.
  3. When those stars exploded, the celestial event provided the energy peak required to form gold.
  4. The explosion dispersed that gold—along with other elements—into the universe.
  5. During Earth’s formation, pieces from those explosions hit the surface in large enough quantities (estimated to be as much as 20 billion metric tons) to deposit various elements in the Earth’s surface, including gold.

The reason you’re not tripping over all of this meteor-deposited gold? Molten iron on the Earth’s surface sank inward to become our planet’s core, taking much of the planet’s precious metals—such as gold—with it.

An Alternate Gold Origin Story

Another theory suggests that the precious metal formed following a collision between two neutron stars.

According to NASA, a neutron star forms “[w]hen the core of a massive star undergoes gravitational collapse at the end of its life.” The result is a city-sized sphere so dense that it includes the solar mass of 1.3 to 2.5 solar bodies. “Matter is packed so tightly that a sugar-cube-sized amount of material would weigh more than 1 billion tons….”

A collision between two bodies so densely packed is sure to unleash tremendous heat and energy, and that’s a common characteristic among the theories. In fact, “tremendous heat and energy” is perhaps the easiest way to answer the question, “Where did the element gold come from?”

With all this talk of space, you might ask yourself: Is there gold in space? The answer may surprise you.

A 2009 NASA mission—in which a rocket slammed into the moon and a second spacecraft studied the blast—revealed that the lunar surface contains an array of compounds, including gold, silver, and mercury, according to PBS.

More recently, NASA identified a giant asteroid—located between Mars and Jupiter—that contains enough gold and other metals to make everyone on Earth a multibillionaire.

Where Does Gold Come from in the World?

Since we cannot drill down to the planet’s core to access gold deposits—or hop aboard a spaceship (at least in the near future)—what’s the next best way to collect gold?

Mining, of course. Just not so deep.

The world’s most notable gold mines include those in:

  • The United States (Carlin Trend, Nevada)
  • South Africa (Witwatersrand Basin)
  • Indonesia (Papua province)
  • Australia (Super Pit)
  • Peru (Yanacocha)

Don’t let the word “prolific” in the video throw you. Some analysts argue that the world’s mineable reserves of gold could run out by 2035—and may have already hit their peak last year.

Fortunately, enough gold remains for those who want it—for now.

The Source of Gold

You know where your food comes from, how it’s grown, and how it makes its way onto your plate. You probably also know how your house came to be built from raw materials into a comfortable space you love.

Now you know where gold comes from. Finding “gold near you” is as easy as shopping the U.S. Money Reserve catalog online or calling 1-844-307-1589.


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