Gold is an element, meaning that it is not formed, but exists as an atomic structure.
It came into existence in Earth’s greenstone belts, recrystallized lava and sediment, about 4 billion years ago.
Large deposits are extracted through mining.
Small bits of gold can be sifted out of gold-rich streams because gold is heavier than most sand and gravel.
For more than 6,000 years, gold has been a symbol of status and wealth. It does not tarnish or corrode and it is very malleable, or flexible.
Silver is an element more common than gold. In the Nevada Comstock Lode, discovered in 1859, the silver ore formed a slab 400 feet (122 meters) thick and 3,000 feet (915 meters) deep.
One ounce of gold can be beaten into a thin sheet 100 square feet (9.3 square meters).