Comment: 19:45 - 21:19 (01:34)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 12. Minerals: The Materials of Earth
Keywords: gold, mineral, copper, silver, California, "Sutter's Mill", Klondike, "Yukon Territory", "gold rush", "rare mineral", crust
Our transcription: Another rare mineral with a long and illustrious past is "gold".
Few other minerals have ever had its economic or political power; yet unlike copper and silver, which have various industrial uses, gold has only limited practical value.
The considerable value that gold does possess is based on its historical function as kind of a universal currency in a world where countries have little faith in each other's paper money.
The power of gold is exemplified by the settlement of California.
Until the middle of the Nineteenth Century, this was a wild, uncharted, sparsely populated region.
Then came the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, and practically overnight, thousands of people from all walks of life pulled up stakes and converged on the area hoping to strike it rich.
The same kind of frenzied activity was then repeated at the end of the Nineteenth Century.
Following a gold strike in the Klondike, 30,000 adventurers poured into what is now the Yukon Territory.
Gold and other pure minerals are relatively uncommon.
What makes them so rare is that unusual conditions are required for them to concentrate within the Earth's crust.
Geology School Keywords