Imagine up and down the beaches of the USA, people sunbathing and playing in the waves, and trying to extract gold? It sounds strange, especially since everyone knows that miners look for gold on land. But it has been reported in the Helsingin Sanomat that scientists in Mekkeli are studying how to extract this expensive precious metal from seawater. Sound fishy? Well read on!
Professors at the Lappeenranta University of Technology, such as Professor Mika Sillanpää, believe that extracting gold from seawater is possible based on well-known chemical theory. As it is explained in the report, seawater is not just ordinary water. It is water that has been absorbing precious metals since the birth of Earth itself. Sadly though, the amount is relatively small. You probably would not be able to extract enough to get a fancy gold necklace or a gold wedding ring. But still it is amazing to think of all of the precious metals floating in our oceans and seas.
The professors believe that by studying the kind of materials that different metals adhere to they will be able to extract gold from the seawater. These binders attach to gold in the form of nanoparticles. Still, the process would be very expensive to actually get any sort of large-scale results or large quantity of gold. The entire process isn’t quite “seaworthy” so don’t bother taking your buckets to the beach.
Interestingly enough, researcher Mika Sillanpää has made calculations that 1/5 of the gold contained in the Earth’s seas could pay off the US national debt of 15 trillion dollars. Well, that also seems like a pipe dream, but the idea that a solution to the American debt crisis could lie in the ocean deep is a creative and very imaginative solution!
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