Gold Facts: How Much Gold is in the Earth’s Core?

Gold Facts: How Much Gold is in the Earth’s Core?

Gold Facts: How Much Gold is in the Earth’s Core?

“Big History” Gold Volume Facts

I watched a fascinating episode of the History Channel’s “Big History” program recently called “Gold Fever”. They presented the following amazing gold facts and figures:

  • There is enough gold at the core of the earth to cover the surface of the planet in 12’ to 13’ depth. Unfortunately, it’s 1,800 miles below our feet and at many thousands of degrees.
  • They also indicate that all the gold ever mined would only stand at 80’ on the Washington Monument (Washington, D.C.). The monuments base is 55’ 1-1/2” (square). So, that’s 246,050 cubic feet or 9,113 cubic yards. So, how many ounces is that?
  • All the gold in Fort Knox would stand less than 3’ on the same monument. So, that would be 9,227 cubic feet (342 cy).

The program indicates that all the gold mined and still being mined comes from meteorites that have hit the earth’s crust since it cooled. Once in the crust, processes through heat and water have deposited it in places you and I can find it.

Differing Gold Facts & Figures?

The programs statements about how much gold there is at the earth’s core differs from all the other sources I could find. Wikipedia, for instance, states “because the inner core is denser (12.8 ~ 13.1)g⁄cm³ than pure iron or nickel, even under heavy pressures, it is believed that the core also contains enough gold, platinum and other siderophile elements that if extracted and poured onto the Earth’s surface it would cover the entire Earth with a coating 0.45 m (1.5 feet) deep.”

An article in the September, 2006 issue of Discover Magazine quotes Australian  geologist Bernard Wood as identifying that

“there’s enough gold in Earth’s core to coat its surface in 1.5 feet of the stuff.”

“A Sea of Molten Rocks”

Professor Wood bases his figures on an extensive survey of the makeup of the earth’s core, in which he concludes that

“Earth was probably covered in a sea of molten rock, hundreds of kilometers deep, early in its history. [The] “magma ocean” reacted with metals during the planet’s development, extracting many of the most important and interesting elements, including gold, and eventually depositing them in the Earth’s own iron-rich core.”

What figures or theories have you read?

The Gold Lab
About The Author

I’m Dave Chiara, and it was only a few years ago that I picked up a gold pan and couldn’t put it down. I happily spent my weekends dredging, processing, panning, and sluicing. I can’t imagine a better way to spend your free time – out in nature with friends and family, and coming home with real gold!


  • By Jad 01 Feb 2014

    I have my own theories about gold , not that they’ve help me find it , but it makes logical sense to believe that there is gold in the earths interior , as well as in the Sun . I have never heard of gold pouring out from active volcanoes but it would definitely depreciate its value if it did., since it wouldn’t be as scarce. I do believe that all matter that makes up our wonderful planet was mixed and blended in a horrifying and violent event during the creation that would be neither pleasant to behold and experience for humans. However , for God , it must have been one of His greatest joys and thrills . The creation of planets. What a wondrous thought.

    That more gold can come up from under the earth to its surface is a very likely hypothesis, especially if there are land movements and earth quakes. The New Jerusalem – as mentioned in the book of Revelations – will have streets paved with gold when the Lord comes to reign in His millennium .That says a mouthful if you ask me , and that certainly raises a whole lot of questions ! That being so , it is likely that new gold will come up to the surface of the earth or the good Lord will tell His leaders where the gold is that is awaiting its use at the New Jerusalem !!!

    So there you have it . Just one of my short and simple theories . Hope you enjoyed it . 🙂

  • By John 05 Mar 2014

    Hi Dave,
    Ok, so there is enough gold in Earth’s core to cover Earth 1.5′ and 12′ deep. So how does one find some of this gold on the surface?
    Of course, if any of us knew this, we probably wouldn’t share it.
    Back down to Earth, what can a prospector with a gold pan hope to earn by mining in the rivers and streams of the Pacific NW?
    Thank you,

    • By Dave Chiara 05 Mar 2014

      Hi John – the depths are reported on the Science channel (so somebody has “figured it out”). Unfortunately what’s at the core will stay there, but the blog tells you about the rest.

      Regarding prospecting the Pacific NW – what you’ll get the most of for sure is – experience. Doing it (prospecting) with just a gold pan will take you forever and a day to even find you enough to brag about. A small stream sluice will speed things up a bit, but if you want to get serious – you’ll have to get into highbanking or dredging. I would suggest look up a local prospecting organization near you and get involved. That would help you pick up a lot more tips and instructions than I could possibly tell you in a few sentences. Best of luck, prospecting.


  • By Robert Schattschneider Mining Equipment of Oregon 17 Mar 2014

    Great Answer Dave!

  • By David N. 27 Jun 2014

    One of the things I most loved to do when I lived in California was to head for the East Fork San Gabriel River after a big rain, claw out some dirt from around the roots of a big washed out tree, and settle in to work with my pan for a long weekend. I found some little nuggets, and a not altogether economically unviable amount of gold dust. A short trip to the assayer’s office in Pasadena yielded enough cash to pay for the gas, food, and accomodations, plus a little walking around money for a steak and a beer later. Kind of a free vacation, since the air was sweet, the scenery pretty, and the sound of the rushing river water very relaxing.

    As for volcanic activity bringing molten gold from the core to the surface of the Earth, alas, this is not even remotely possible, since volcanic material is from the inner crust of the Earth, perhaps only several miles deep. Geologically speaking, much like a weekend in Vegas, what happens in the core, stays in the core. Until and unless mining methods advance such that the material and equipment required to bring molten metalics from nearly 2,000 miles down up to the surface don’t get destroyed in the process, we can only dream about all that gold down there. And something tells me that if someone ever tries to drill into the core of the Earth, he’s going to bring back some kind of hell he never expected. But asteroid mining….

    • By Dave Chiara 27 Jun 2014

      Hi David,
      You are correct about the gold at the earths center – we don’t have the technology yet to recover it. The gold we are recovering is volcanic but from the earths crust (meteorite deposits). Sounds like you have a great set up – fun and some cash rewards as well.
      Thank you for sharing.

      Best Regards,

  • By katesisco 13 Aug 2014

    I am wondering if gold is not created in violent lightening strikes as well as deep. Science now says that gold is a product of a stellar nova. And that all gold is a product of that nova which would mean our gold is inherited but I rather think that lightening strikes could accomplish this also.

    • By Dave Chiara 14 Aug 2014

      Most of the programs that I’ve seen indicate that gold (and other metals) were all created either in the “big bang” or by super nova. Lighting may get up to thousands and maybe tens of thousands of degrees.

      But the temperatures reported during the big bang and super nova events were in the millions to billions of degrees. During the earth’s formation all the heavy metals that came with asteroids and comets, as well as collisions with other planets while the earth was still molten sank to the interior of our planet. The heavy metals we’re finding now are all deposits from bombardment after our crust had harden. With mountain building and erosion, the heavy metals washed down into the streams, rivers and oceans where we find them now.

      Reading thru the information that I posted in my blogs indicates that the heavy metals at the center of the earth will forever stay there, since they’re too heavy to be forced upward by the interior forces.

      Anyway – that’s what most scientist / geologist are reporting now. Maybe in the future somebody can figure out a process to retrieve the heavy metals at the center – I wouldn’t count on it anytime soon thou.

      Thanks for your comments.
      Best Regards

  • By Brandon 31 Oct 2015

    Jad, not sure how god got involved in this topic or why he would want people to have gold, considering he is suppose to be the holy father of love, and anti-materialism, but all to their own I suppose. I think David N is spot-on. Nobody will ever get to the core, not until technology catches up to that possibility at least. And when it does, I am scared to imagine the environmental destruction big companies would cause go to get it. Greed galore… David’s idea of panning and having a nice weekend finding some bits of gold dust to pay for it, now that’s my idea of an interesting and relaxing weekend.

    • By Dave Chiara 02 Nov 2015

      Brandon – appreciate your response and concern regarding man’s mining of gold at Earth’s core. Hopefully, by the time (and if it ever happens) mankind would have a much greater understanding how everything fits and works together in the Universal scheme of things. If mankind reaches that advanced stage, at least one thing has been overcome – our need to destroy each other threw wars and violence. It would be my wish that mankind have learned to use the “gifts” we have to benefit all and for the greater good.

      Don’t get me wrong, gold and all the other precious metals and gems are fabulous and many beautiful things have come from them, but the desire to have only to hold something for one’s self has been more the norm of man’s history.

      How much greater the benefit of creating and sharing than material wealth. One man’s opinion (mine), but we all need to have a means to support our self and our family. A certain amount of material wealth gives us a piece of mind to be able to do that – but we all have different thresholds of what that level should be.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Hope you find your rewards and treasures in life. Best Regards Dave

  • By Ed 20 Jul 2016

    Any gold or platinum type metal caught n the core are going to remain there and that’s a good thing, since the core is radioactive, a feature that along with pressure serve to keep the core molten and serve the earth s a living planet. Now the outer mantle may contain some gold that was deposited there during the earth’s formation when meteors were bombarding the planet, however, this is not the same thing as the core gold that is trapped in the core.

    • By Dave Chiara 27 Jul 2016

      Hi Ed

      You are absolutely correct regarding the earths core (heavy metals and radioactivity. And the depth below our feet to the center of the core is approximately 4,000 miles (radius).

      Regarding what’s in/on the mantle has been deposited by meteors over the eons. And since the mantle is active via plate tectonics and volcanoes – plus erosion via wind and water, help deposit gold where we can find it. Of course the easy gold / minerals have been found, but by no means have we found it all. Most speculate that we’ve only scratched the “surface” at 10% – 15%, or maybe a bit higher, since we’re able to use all different types of mining equipment to find it. With new electronic gear, satellites, etc. we’re getting better at finding it. I’ll hazardous a guess that in our life time or even our grandkids, we’re not going to find it all or recover it. Besides, half the fun of finding gold is in the looking for it.
      Best Regards

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