Besides hydrogen and oxygen, there are about 44 elements that can be found in the oceans. Gold is one of those elements, but its presence in the ocean is not as much as prominent as people would like to believe. The truth is, there is only one gram of gold for every 100 million tons of seawater.
The appearance of gold in the oceans has been known since 1872, and many people have made futile attempts to get this precious metal by various means since then. Unfortunately, those people weren’t able to get enough gold in the ocean, and in fact, gold ranks 40th in the list of elements found in the ocean’s water, which makes it somehow impossible to get at least one kilogram of gold.
How Do We Get Gold?
The ocean is not the only natural wonder on Earth where we can find gold, as there are other places that have more amounts of the element compared to the ocean. The most popular places where gold is abundant is in waterways and mines. These places are often located in Indonesia, Canada, the United States, Australia, and South Africa.
The most common method of finding gold is by looking for it in a gold mine. These mines usually contain a type of gold called primary gold, which are the ones found in rock formations. Interestingly, if the rock formations have gold in them, there is a high chance that they also contain other precious stones and minerals like quartz or silver.
The second most popular method is by looking in the deepest parts of the waterways for another type of gold called secondary gold. This type is smaller compared to primary gold, and it is formed when a piece of the rock formation falls down on the water and enters a waterway or river. Secondary gold is typically hard to find since it is usually hidden beneath the dirt, sand, and other stones that flow through the waterway or settle under it. A person must get a handful of dirt and place it in a simple pan that separates gold from the dirt. However, despite how simple this method is, it can be arduous since every panning doesn’t guarantee that you get a gold nugget, so you would have to repeat the procedure at least a dozen times before you get lucky.
Where Do We Use Gold?
Because of gold’s rarity, it is often associated with elegance and luxury, and as such, gold is found in jewelry, watches, and even eyeglasses to show how rich a person is. Besides jewelry, gold has also been used to produce coins, although it was subsequently replaced in other countries to other less precious minerals due to shortage.
Gold is used to fabricate electrical connectors that are corrosion-free as well, which means that they won’t rust. These connectors are found in various electronic devices, and this includes most smartphones. According to the World Gold Council, a smartphone may contain 50mg of gold, but this amount only has a value of 50 cents. On the other hand, since there are about one billion smartphones in the world, it is safe to safe that you can get $500 million if you sell the gold found in every smartphone.
A surprising use for gold is in ancient medicine, as people believed back then that a rare mineral could only be healthy for the body. The notion that gold has health benefits was debunked in the 19th century, although researchers found that some substances found in the mineral have healthy properties. One of these substances is gold salt, which is supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling on certain parts of the body. Today, gold is utilized in dentistry as expensive fillings for restored teeth. Since gold is slightly malleable, it could easily form into a tooth-shaped appearance, allowing it to be suitable fillings for the teeth.
Gold is also utilized as an ingredient of food, but it commonly has a thin leaf-like appearance when it is applied to certain dishes. The application of gold as a food ingredient has been done since medieval times, with the nobility the only ones who are wealthy enough to put gold in their food. Applying gold leaves on the dish signifies that wealth for the eater, but they are also eaten by the elite because they believe that it has health benefits. Gold is mixed with drinkable water as well, and this gold water is produced today in Poland and Germany. The price of one bottle of gold water ranges from $10 up to $70. Despite the beautiful appearance of gold on food and drinks, it has little to no flavor at all and only serves as an edible decoration. However, many described its taste to have a hint of saltiness, but that’s about it in regards to its flavor.
- Gold (Wikipedia)