What if the World turned to Gold? – The Gold Apocalypse

Here in the yihayihaa labs we only work on the most important scientific problems like “What if we nuke stuff” or “how about we make this elephant explode” or who could forget “look at this thing.

It’s really big.

” Continuing this proud tradition, let’s explore the scientific mystery of what would happen to you, if Earth suddenly turned into gold!

The “Midaspocalypse”, based on the ancient tale of King Midas who was cursed so everything he touched turned into gold Before we can explore this scenario with science, we’ll first define the premise.

What if the World turned to Gold – The Gold Apocalypse

Midas’s curse is a very special phenomenon, called magic, which allows us to modify physics.

So what happens when midas touches something and it turns to gold?

[Music] An atom of gold has 79 protons and 118 neutrons in its nucleus The electric force of the protons on the electrons around them shapes the atom and gives gold its chemical properties, like that it doesn’t rust, and that it’s kind of shiny and bendy.

So, to make not-gold into gold, we have to change atoms.

Let’s say Midas touches a duck.

All the light elements like hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen gain electrons and protons and neutrons to become gold.

Not only is the duck suddenly 33 times more massive it’s also much too dense.

The gold atoms are far closer together than they like and repel each other violently causing the golden duck to explode with the energy of half a ton of TNT, leaving only gold dust and a very dead Midas.

This is clearly not a very good way for Midas’ power to work.

So what if instead Midas’ power uses the atoms that are already present and simply rearranges all particles in the matter he touches, into gold.

No matter is created or destroyed, instead atoms dissolve and the protons, neutrons, and electrons are reassembled to make gold however gold is very dense, about 20 times denser than a duck.

Without adding any matter the gold duck would be a very awkward kind of foamy gold with lots of tiny microscopic gaps, this is funky and doesn’t explode, which is progress.

Now that we’ve established a sort of magic that works, what would happen if Midas stumbles, what if he touches Earth itself?

Let’s freeze time for just a moment, and rearrange all the matter in the Earth.

Just like the duck, the Earth is now solid gold, but with many tiny atomic-scale gaps.

While these gaps weren’t a huge deal for the duck, they’re a big problem for the Earth.

A spongy planet is not a thing that can exist, as gravity compresses Earth, squeezing it together to close up the gaps.

As a result, the Earth contracts, shrinking to two-thirds of its radius.

If you’re standing on Earth’s surface, you’ll suddenly find yourself in free fall, like on a roller coaster, as the ground sinks away beneath you.

But since the ground is falling too, it doesn’t move away from you, it feels like someone turned off gravity and you and everything else would begin to float but the ride doesn’t last forever, it takes only 10 minutes for everything to crash down, and a weird 10 minutes it is indeed.

And then, as abruptly as it started, it stops.

The collapsing earth has reached its desired size and gravity is suddenly turned back on for you.

Hopefully you enjoyed your minutes of floating because the ground and you with it crash into the planet at 30,000 kilometers an hour, making your body spatter like a water balloon as it hits.

In one instant basically all of humanity gets smashed into red puddles.

This is only the start of our problems though, since Earth imploded supersonically.

the kinetic energy of the implosion is basically equivalent to detonating a planet made of TNT.

Crushed together under incredible forces, Earth’s core reaches a million degrees celsius a temperature closer to the core of a star than anything we’re used to finding on Earth.

As the earth ‘crashes into itself’ it generates an enormously powerful shockwave which plows upwards, catapulting the atmosphere up and off.

The earth’s surface temperature reaches hundreds of thousands of degrees, and everything on it is instantly vaporized to a fluffy plasma cloud that starts to expand, but not by much many of the atoms that may have been new you get mixed into this cloud, while others boil off, escaping from the atmosphere.

The golden plasma outshines the sun while the enormous radiation lifts tons of material off into space.

Over the coming days the plasma cloud cools, and eventually freezes into a shiny little golden ball.

Okay, maybe this type of magic doesn’t work so if replacing atoms made the Earth so over dense that it exploded and disassembling and reassembling atoms made the earth so under dense that it imploded, there must be a sweet spot where the Earth does neither what if Midas power is such that an object is suddenly replaced by an object with the same volume made from solid gold.

That magic is a little bit more magic, and cuts a few extra corners but let’s see where this leads us so Midas stumbles again, Even though our new pure gold Earth is not expanding or contracting, it’s suddenly much more massive.

The density of gold is three and a half times greater than the earth, meaning the earth is going to get three and a half times more massive!

For starters, everyone now has to contend with surface gravity that is more than three times stronger, so if you’re not a champion weightlifter who’s used to carrying around a few times your body weight on your shoulders, you’re probably going to be slammed to the ground by your own weight.

Depending on where you were when earth turned into gold, this alone could seriously hurt or even kill you.

Trees and artificial structures collapse under stress they were never meant to sustain while birds and planes and all things that were able to fly or float splash to the ground all around you.

And you’re not the only thing weighed down by the greater gravity.

The weight of the atmosphere, and also atmospheric pressure, nearly quadruples, which is a bad thing if you like living.

On its own, this won’t kill you scuba divers can comfortably breathe air at these pressures for a while, but unfortunately squeezing the atmosphere this much raises its temperature to 150 degrees Celsius, which is like the insides of an oven.

The entire earth’s surface bakes, roasting anything and everything.

There is no escape.

Gold may be a metal but it is about three times weaker than steel, and also very malleable, which makes it very bad mountains material the tallest mountains that can be supported are now only about two kilometers high.

so whole ranges compress as their own weight basically crushes their base.

it’s hard to say what happens here We’re probably in for giant earthquakes and landslides as the planet is squeezed into a new shape.

And it’s not just mountain ranges the differences between the continents and the ocean floor level out, causing the ocean basins to overflow, sending massive tidal waves over the Earth’s surface.

What remains is a planet made from gold, entirely covered by an ocean 3 kilometers deep, a super hot atmosphere and a lot of dead people.

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