McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

July 24, 2013

Origin of gold found in rare neutron-star collisions

(Continued)

And these explosions make a lot of it — about 20 Earth-masses of gold in the June event, according to a back-of-the-envelope calculation by Daniel Kasen, a University of California at Berkeley astrophysicist. Kasen said that comes out to about 100 trillion oil tankers of gold.

"You need a lot of neutrons to throw at some seed nucleus to build it up to something heavy like gold or lead or platinum," Kasen said. "I'm partial to the name 'blingnova' to describe this kind of event, since what we are seeing is basically an ostentatious glimmering of riches."

If platinum is your thing, then rejoice: These collisions create seven times as much platinum as gold. Berger said the neutron-star collisions produce essentially everything up and down the periodic table.

There's still a lot that must be done with those gold atoms before they wind up on someone's front tooth. The gold is basically dust in the wind, atomized, until it winds up in a cloud of material that can coalesce, through the force of gravity, into a solar system of planets with a star at the center.

Then the gold atoms have to find one another and become concentrated. Over a billion years or more, the planet's geological processes will concentrate elements such as gold so that it will form veins and nuggets. Gold is chemically inert and doesn't want to bond with other elements.

"It's a process of distillation. That's what planets do," said Robert Hazen, a mineralogist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Gold is rare on Earth — about one part per billion in the Earth's crust, Hazen said.

Most of Earth's gold is trapped in the planet's core, he said. And, he added, there's a long-standing conjecture that at the very center of the Earth is a small core that's pure gold.

So, does Earth have a heart of gold? They haven't found a way to check on that — yet.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
NDN Video
LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.