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Earth Space Science

Icelandic Rocks Suggest Meteorites Brought Gold To Earth 82

Posted by timothy
from the those-are-some-chatty-rocks dept.
sciencehabit writes "Gold, platinum, and other precioius metals were sucked into Earth's molten iron core soon after our planet formed. So where did all of the material for our fancy jewelry come from? According to high-precision measurements of two isotopes, or atomic variants, of tungsten in 4-billion-old rocks from Greenland published online today in Nature [the abstract adds a bit more; the full version is paywalled, though], precious-metal-bearing meteorites struck Earth around this time, coating the planet in a veneer containing gold, platinum, and other elements long after their native counterparts had disappeared into the planet's core."
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Icelandic Rocks Suggest Meteorites Brought Gold To Earth

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  • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @04:46PM (#37344962)
    While I'm sure that some precious metals have arrived from space after the earth's accretion, I think it's rather a stretch to think that the concentration in places like South Dakota or Alaska/Yukon are the result of impact events.

    It's true that these elements settled into lower strata, but it must also be remembered that many volcanic events are fueled by plumes of material that emanate from the core itself (the Yellowstone Caldera is believed to be such). That certain metals were concentrated in the lower strata during Earth's early formation does not mean that 100% of them stayed there.

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