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Gold is a yellowish, soft, transition metal with the atomic number of 79 and an elemental symbol of Au. Gold has had enormous social and economic significance worldwide. Gold has been the standard for many currencies. The majority of the world's gold comes from South Africa, while two-thirds of gold consumed in the United States comes from Nevada and South Dakota.

So-called gold rushes occurred across the western United States and Canada throughout the second half of the 19th century. These mass migrations produced enormous social and environmental consequences. By far the most famous was the California Gold Rush (1848–58), which drew gold-seekers from Mexico, China, Germany, and many other nations of the world. About 125 million troy ounces of gold were extracted, a value of ...

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