Meteor Shower Rained Gold On Ancient Earth

09/10/2011 11:32 am ET | Updated Nov 10, 2011

Some 3.9 billion years ago a massive meteor shower of glittering gold and platinum fell on earth, says a new study published in the Nature Journal by researchers at the University of Bristol.

This ancient meteor shower explains why tens to thousands of times more bling exists on earth's mantle and crust than anticipated, says the press statement .

Prior to this study, many scientists pointed to the meteorite theory, but no substantial evidence existed to support it, until now, reports Deutsche Welle.

The National Geographic reports that scientists put the theory to the test by analyzing the world's oldest rocks discovered in Greenland in 2008, and then comparing it to the make up of other rocks found elsewhere around the planet.

"We hoped that by analyzing these rocks we could get an idea of how the Earth looked before that meteoritic bombardment, so we can estimate how much meteoritic material was added to the Earth," Matthias Willbold, who led the University of Bristol study, told Deutsche Welle.

Researchers concluded an ancient meteor shower must have occurred based on the differing isotopes found from the two rock samples.

“Our work shows that most of the precious metals on which our economies and many key industrial processes are based have been added to our planet by lucky coincidence when the Earth was hit by about 20 billion billion tonnes of asteroidal material," Willbold said in a press statement.

So next time you put on a nice gold piece of jewelry, remember you have the lucky stars to thank.

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