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Where did all this stuff around me come from?

  1. May 23, 2012 #1

    There are elements in the Earth that consist of large atoms. Where did they come from? I am familiar with the phrase 'We are all stardust'. Is nuclear fusion in stars the only natural way to produce large atoms or is there another natural process on Earth that can produce large atoms?

    Thanks very much
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2012 #2


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    All the heavy elements were formed in a Supernova, some while ago. Apparently it has to be a Supernova to provide all that energy. i.e. starting with a really massive star.

    There are no processes on (in) Earth that could be energetic enough for fusion, afaik.
  4. May 23, 2012 #3


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    No natural processes. Of course there are some elements that were formed for the first time in laboratories.
  5. May 23, 2012 #4
    hydrogen,helium,lithium was produced from big bang all others are from super nova via nuclear fusion.
    no other methods in earth
  6. May 23, 2012 #5
    Correction: traces of other elements were produced by the Big Bang, and quite a few elements are produced by non-supernovaing stars. The really massive ones (above Gold?) are produced by Supernovae.
  7. May 24, 2012 #6
    thank you whovian can you describe the process in ful esp non supernovaing stars
  8. May 24, 2012 #7
    I'm not terribly good at explaining things, but http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/astfus.html

    Basically, we'll have less massive nuclei fusing to produce more massive nuclei. Pretty much up to Gold (? again) is produced here, at which point the reaction from Iron to Gold (? yet again) will start taking up more energy than it produces.
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