5 Massive Troves of Gold Stuck Maddeningly Out-of-Reach

Want a quadrillion tons of gold? We know just the place
5 Massive Troves of Gold Stuck Maddeningly Out-of-Reach

You can solve all your problems if you just get your hands on some gold. Yes — gold! Sweet, sweet gold. With enough gold, you can get the law off your back. You can buy a ranch and spend all day on the porch chewing some straw. Or, you could create your own nation. And if you encounter any issues along the way, you can solve them, using gold.

The gold you want is out there, ready for the taking. Unfortunately, though, some of these hoards aren’t exactly accessible. And so, your quest for gold may send you to such sites as...

The Antarctic Volcano

Mount Erebus sits on an Antarctic island just a little off the continent’s northern coast. Of course, since Antarctica is the southern continent and contains the South Pole, every coast of Antarctica is the northern coast. This makes describing locations confusing. Perhaps people intentionally designed this system to be confusing, to keep you from finding Mount Erebus and its constant stream of gold. 

Mount Erebus


Never mind, we found it. Here it is, breaking through the clouds.

Erebus is a volcano, and when it’s not erupting (like happened last in 2011), it’s constantly churning molten rock from a permanent lake of lava. It also constantly emits gases, and along with these gases, the crater spews flecks of gold. Every single day, it releases 80 grams of gold, a quantity that’s worth around $6,000. 

Once you get to Erebus on Ross Island — probably having sailed from New Zealand — and climb up its 12,000 feet, you may still have some trouble claiming the gold. You’d have to collect the individual specs, which measure just micrometers across, and which are blown across a vast area. Also, we’re not sure the Antarctic Treaty takes kindly to just anyone mining Antarctica for its resources. You’ll probably need a private army of mercenaries defending you. We suggest hiring penguins, as they’re too cute for anyone to attack. 

The Indian Temple

For many centuries, stories circulated about the treasure locked up in Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The vaults of this temple in the Indian state of Kerala were filled with gold, people said. But the vaults hadn’t been opened in 150 years, so no one alive had seen their contents.

Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Shishirdasika/Wiki Commons

The temple looks golden, but we have our doubts about what’s inside.

If you’re familiar with how stories work, you can guess how this one ends. We finally break the vault open, and it turns out to be empty, but that’s fine because the true treasure is the friends we made along the way. Well, in 2011, India’s Supreme Court ordered the vaults opened. Inside, they found a throne made of gold and filled with jewels. They also found a four-foot-tall solid gold idol. Plus, they found a literal ton of medieval gold coins, hundreds of thousand of gold Roman coins and numerous sacks full of other golden artifacts. 

The treasure’s worth $22 billion. That’s a low estimate, based purely on the weight of the raw materials and not on any additional value people might place on ancient crowns or blessed relics. This treasure had to have been assembled over the course of thousands of years, for far longer than even this ancient temple has been around. 

To loot the temple, you’ll have to get past the guards employed by the Travancore Royal Family. Deeper inside, we have to assume you’ll encounter deadly traps as well as a final fight against the deity Padmanabhaswamy, so we recommend you manually save your game before entering. 

The Vast Oceans

If you’re unsatisfied with tiny heists — a wedding ring here, a $22 billion trove there — we know how you can up your game. We know a place that currently contains 15 million tons of gold. 

For reference, a mere 200,000 tons of gold have ever been mined, throughout history. Gold is rare, you see. The world pours more steel every hour than it has mined gold in total since the dawn of humanity. We’re now offering you roughly a hundred times more gold than everyone else owns put together. Here it is: 


Ant Rozetsky

No, not in the sky. It’s that thing below it. 

It’s in the ocean. It’s distributed throughout the ocean, dissolved roughly evenly. It’s dissolved in some 300 million cubic miles of seawater, and if you’re having trouble conceptualizing that quantity, here’s an interesting fact: That’s enough water to fill all of the oceans, up to sea level. 

The gold is so dilute that there is currently no economical way of extracting it from seawater. Whatever process we come up with costs much more than the gold is worth. But you just need to invent a better process, and find somewhere to chuck all those useless fish and whales, and the fortune can be yours. 

The Mighty Asteroid

You’d probably prefer that quantity of precious metal in a more concentrated and solid form. We know just the place: the asteroid Eros. The image below looks like some goofy artist’s impression, like those ones we made of that weird interstellar object from a couple years back, but this is a composite image made from actual photos taken by a probe we sent there. 

Eros asteroid


The ancestors spoke true. Bodies in space are made of cheese.

Not only does Eros contain more gold than could ever be mined from Earth — it also contains a bunch of other metals, including platinum. It adds up to a dollar value of at least $20 trillion.

Eros is around 150 million miles away at last count, a distance that light takes 14 minutes to cover. That’s closer to us than Mars, so while this isn’t the most convenient location to visit, mining Eros isn’t outside the realm of possibility. We may manage this within your lifetime. Of course, if some space agency mines it, that won’t be much comfort to you, since you want it all for yourself. You could instead try claiming one of the thousands of other asteroids out there. You’ll surely find one you like. 

The Center of the Earth

Compared to asteroids, our next trove isn’t far at all. It’s just a few thousand miles away. Why, you could walk that distance, given enough time. You’ll have a little trouble walking this route, though, because the place we’re talking about is the Earth’s core.

You may have heard that the core is made of iron. That’s largely true. But the core’s mighty big, so it also contains a lot of gold. There’s around 1.6 quadrillion tons of gold down there. Not only is that a few billion times the total gold we’ve ever got from those shallow scratches in the Earth that we call mines — it’s enough gold to cover the entire surface of the planet in a layer that is 18 inches thick. 

Earth core


That will make the Earth more shiny, so it’ll be easier to find. 

We have not, in fact, ever constructed a tunnel that goes thousands of miles into the Earth. Nor have we constructed a tunnel that goes ten miles into the Earth. Mining the core would be impossible, and if it were possible, it would destroy the planet. People call messing a little with the environment “destroying the planet,” but plundering the core (using magic) would literally destroy the planet. 

Still. What a way to go, right?

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see.

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