Dinosaurs & Gold: A Meteorite Story

A riddle: What do Dinosaurs and Gold Bars have in Common???
 
No, it has nothing to do with Steven Spielberg’s vault… Both the Dinosaurs and the Earth’s mineable gold deposits are theorised to have defining life moments intrinsically linked to meteor impacts!

One of several theories as to why Dinosaurs suddenly went extinct about 70 million years ago is that of a MASSIVE asteroid striking the coast of what is now modern Mexico. The subsequent debris cloud and radically different weather conditions are theorised to have caused mass extinction amongst these gigantic, terrible lizards.
 
But what about gold, you ask? Well, traditionally, gold is thought to have been created by supernova events or perhaps even the COLLISION of stars out in space. If this is the case, such was the time in the Earth’s lifecycle when this occurred that the planet was actually a molten sphere and so much of the incoming stellar gold sunk towards the Earth’s core.
Which means that the gold that is mined today, from deposits relatively close to the surface, must have come from somewhere else. Yep, you guessed it – meteorite impacts! Supporting theory suggests that the gold that we dig out of the ground today was deposited during an event called the Late Heavy Bombardment, where a disproportionately large number of meteors hit the Earth. When one considers that upwards of 175,000 tonnes of gold have thus far been mined, that is an astounding number of meteors – perhaps as many as 50,000 -  raining down from the skies! Conversely, it took just one meteor (albeit a 15km wide meteor) to wipe out the Dinosaurs.
 
The wandering mind, armed with the above riddle, might now ponder the thought of a Tyrannosaurus Rex using its impressive jaws to chomp down on gold bars in a bid to test their authenticity… however, for mine, I can’t dispose of the vision of a 5 metre-tall, 24k gold-plated T-Rex…



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