Environment & Science

Scientists: All gold on Earth was forged from ancient collisions of dead stars

Brent Shock holds up a gold nugget on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
Brent Shock holds up a gold nugget on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
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Brent Shock holds up a gold nugget on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
Scott Sprague of Manassas, Virginia holds up a bottle of gold he has found on after several prospecting trips, April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
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Brent Shock holds up a gold nugget on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
Scott Sprague of Manassas, Virginia points to a flake of gold he found in Woods Creek on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
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Brent Shock holds up a gold nugget on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
Brent Shock holds up a piece of quartz with gold on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
David Paul Morris/Getty Images
Brent Shock holds up a gold nugget on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
The world's largest gold ingot is displayed at the Toi gold mine in Toi town in Shizuoka prefecture, 130 kilometers west of Tokyo, 28 July 2000. The gold ingot, measuring 40.5cm x 19.5cm x 16cm and weighing 200 kilograms, was recognized 28 July as the world's largest gold ingot by Guiness World Records.
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Brent Shock holds up a gold nugget on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
A gold mine at Hunker Creek during the Klondike Gold Rush, Yukon, Canada, circa 1898.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Brent Shock holds up a gold nugget on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
A gold mine in Chudja, near Bunia, north eastern Congo on February 23, 2009 with mining workers standing on a muddy cliff.
LIONEL HEALING/AFP/Getty Images
Brent Shock holds up a gold nugget on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
Members of General Patton's army with a stash of approximately 100 tons of gold bullion and art treasures found hidden in a salt mine near Merkers.
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Brent Shock holds up a gold nugget on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
A stream of molten gold cascades from the furnace into moulds to produce gold ingots during a press tour at the Al-Amar Gold Mine, 195kms southwest of the Saudi capital Riyadh, on May 28, 2008.
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Brent Shock holds up a gold nugget on April 29, 2011 in Jamestown, California.
Screenshot via Los Angeles Public Library


It was thought that gold was created in a supernova explosion, but new research points to a different stellar process involving the collisions of dead or neutron stars that occurred long before the solar system existed.

Scientists say they have fresh evidence of the ancient collisions after telescopes recently detected a strange glow in a distant galaxy. 

Astronomers have long known that lighter elements such as carbon and oxygen are created within a star. 

The new work was led by Harvard-affiliated researchers and will appear in a future issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.