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September 7th, 2007

Let’s Dig Some Gold Facts

A sciensational chemistry fact on Gold, undoubtedly the most sought after precious metal throughout our history:

An ounce of gold can be stretched into a wire 80 kms (50 miles) long.

Gold is not only precious, but pure gold is also very, very soft. So soft, in fact, that a single gram can be beaten into a sheet of one square meter! If you ever get some pure gold to play with (you wish, eh?), remember the following sciensational fact:

Absolutely pure gold is so soft that it can be moulded with the hands.

So why does it feel hard as a rock? Well, that is because the Gold we’re used to seeing as jewellery and gold bars and coins and what not, is usually not pure at all! Yup, to make gold stay in a particular shape, jewellers mix Gold with other hard metals. Metal mixtures of this kind are also called alloys.

You know that Gold is always referred with carats, don’t you: 18 carats, 24 carats, etc. The term carat (also called karat) is a hint for us to know exactly how much pure Gold was used in that hard shiny Gold bar we’re ogling over. Twenty-four carats is fine pure Gold. Now if a Gold coin says 18 carats, it means that it was made with 18 parts of pure Gold, and remaining six parts of another metal to make it more solid and durable. The other metal that they use is usually a mixture (alloy, remember) of platinum or silver – which is another precious metal, so don’t think your jeweller is fibbing ya!

Another fascinating thing about Gold is the fact that this shiny metal and Copper are the only two non-white metals! So let’s give Copper a shiny tip of our hat, too.

Speaking of the golden shine, did you know that the chemical symbol for Gold in the periodic table of elements – Au – is derived from the Latin word ‘aurum‘? And what is aurum? It means ‘glowing dawn’. It is often suggested that the word aurum has a connection with the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora.

One wonders how much Gold is there in the Earth really, don’t you think?

First, Gold comes from our Earth’s crust (a post about the Crust later, we promise.) And there’s plenty of it for everyone to have big sackfuls of it! Consider this sciensational fact:

There’s enough gold in the Earth’s crust to cover the entire land surface knee-deep.

How about that. So, let’s not lose our sleep over it any more than it deserves!

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The posts on the blog are an attempt to loosely explain certain scientific fun facts and trivia. Please always consult an expert for accurate information regarding any subject. If you feel something here doesn't make sense at all, you can contact us.