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

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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!

6 Comments:


  • 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,
    John

    • 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.

      Dave

  • 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,
      Dave

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