Gold: geological information
Gold is found as the free element in nature and associated with quartz, pyrite and other minerals. Two thirds of the world's supply comes from South Africa. Much of the USA production is from the states South Dakota and Nevada. Gold is found in sea water (about 5-6 g in a million tonnes of seawater), but no effective economic process has been designed (yet) to extract it from this source.
Abundances of gold in various environments
In this table of abundances, values are given in units of ppb (parts per billion; 1 billion = 109), both in terms of weight and in terms of numbers of atoms. Values for abundances are difficult to determine with certainty, so all values should be treated with some caution, especially so for the less common elements. Local concentrations of any element can vary from those given here an orders of magnitude or so and values in various literature sources for less common elements do seem to vary considerably.
|Location||ppb by weight||ppb by atoms|
The chart above shows the log of the abundance (on a parts per billion scale) of the elements by atom number in our sun. Notice the "sawtooth" effect where elements with even atomic numbers tend to be more strongly represented than those with odd atomic numbers. This shows up best using the "Bar chart" option on the chart.
A cartogram depicting the abundance of elements in the earth's crust. Squares for each element are distorted in proportion to the numerical value of the abundance.