“Plant trees, Grow Gold.” by Chloe Ip
“Money doesn’t grow on trees…” as the wise proverb goes, but how about gold? BBC recently published an article (Gold in trees lead to hidden deposits by R.Morelle) about researchers in Australia discovering gold particles in the leaves of Eucalyptus trees. They used a synchrotron (a sort of x-ray that can reveal matter at the finest level) to identify the natural element in the leaves.
The research article, titled Natural gold particles in Eucalyptus leaves and their relevance to exploration for buried gold deposits and published in the journal Nature Communications, explains how traces of gold can be found in the foliage of Eucalyptus trees.
Trees pump water up to their leaves via an intricate root system. If the roots have penetrated a gold deposit, gold particles could be mixed into the water and taken up with the ride to settle inside the leave’s veins. Tree roots can reach gold deposits almost 30 m into the ground.
This discovery is especially beneficial to the mining industry. In order to look for gold deposits, workers either
scour the surface of the land looking for ore or they use exploratory drilling: digging in different places where the deposits are suspected to be until they strike gold. However, now that we know that plants have the ability to mark where the mineral deposits could be located, this discovery could lead to more eco-friendly strategies since using plants to identify deposits are less damaging to the environment.
Now we will never know if that tree that was just cut down to pave the way for a new high rise or luxury mall might have potentially been the new X on the map leading to buried treasure.
“Gold in trees lead to hidden deposits”
By Rebecca Morelle