Using insects to search for gold
2012 12 20
Cheryl Santa Maria | TheWEatherNetwork.com
Researchers have come up with an environmentally-friendly way to mine for gold in western Australia.
Researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia (CSIRO) have found that ant and termite mounds can be used to indicate the presence of gold and other minerals beneath the earth.
According to CSIRO, insects could be a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly method of mineral exploration.
Traditional processes often involve drilling, which can be inaccurate and expensive in Australia.
Parts of the country’s landscape is covered with eroded material, making it difficult to gauge what type of minerals exist underground.
Ants and termites "bring up small particles that contain gold from the deposit’s fingerprint, or halo, and effectively stockpile it in their mounds," said Dr. Aaron Stewart, an entomologist at CSIRO, in a statement.
"Our recent research has shown that small ant and termite mounds that may not look like much on the surface, are just as valuable in finding gold as the large African mounds that stand several metres tall."
The findings have been published online at PLOS One.
Article from: theweathernetwork.com
Termites: So Rich Their Nests Are Made Of Gold
Termites are unearthing gold in Australia, and scientists suggest their nests could reveal where miners might strike it rich.
Mineral resources currently account for roughly one-third of Australia’s exports. One promising site for gold down under is the Moolart Well deposit in the Western Australian Goldfields region, but gold remains difficult to find there even after nearly 150 years of mining.
A close-up image of a Giant Northern worker termite.
"The problem that we face in mining exploration is that a layer of eroded material is covering the gold, effectively hiding it," said researcher Aaron Stewart, an entomologist at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
Now Stewart and his colleagues suggest miners might want to rely on termites as miniature prospectors. The nests of the insects apparently can hold gold dust, revealing hints of treasures hidden deep underground.
"Using termite nests could help exploration companies narrow down the area that they need to drill," Stewart said. "This has the potential to save a lot of money."
Scientists have often relied on insects to guide exploration. For instance, paleontologists often root through ant mounds to look for any miniature fossil bones and teeth the insects might have carried back to their nests.
Stewart and his colleagues analyzed samples from 22 nests of the termite Tumulitermes tumuli, as well as the surrounding soil. These mounds were located in a known gold-rich area.
The researchers found the termite nests contained high concentrations of gold, with levels five to six times higher than concentrations found more than 16 feet away from the mounds. The scientists detailed their findings in the November issue of the journal Geochemistry: Exploration, Environment, Analysis.
"The amount of gold found in the nests is actually very low," Stewart said. "It gives us the indication of a hidden deposit, but you can’t see the gold and you wouldn’t be able to extract any meaningful amount from the nest."
"The termites are not specifically selecting gold to bring into their nests," Stewart added. "It is a fortunate consequence of their habit of building nests, in part from material sourced a few meters below the surface."
Their findings suggest the insects can burrow three to 13 feet into the earth to reach gravel laden with traces of gold surrounding the deposit of the precious metal. "It is surprising that such small nests are able to vertically move enough material to reveal the buried resource," Stewart said.
Read the full article at: insidescience.org
Bug-Eared: Human and Insect Ears Share Similar Structures
Why Aren’t Insects Human-Size? (Just be happy they’re not)
Nuclear butterflies’ cause stir: Mutant insects traced to Fukushima
In Missouri, Insect Ice Cream Flies Off the Shelf
Insects better meat than cows: researchers
There’s gold in them anthills
Latest News from our Front Page
Boston Bomber Carjacking Unravels
2014 03 11
An exclusive WhoWhatWhy investigation has found serious factual inconsistencies in accounts provided by the only witness to the alleged confession of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
Why does this matter? Because this witness is the sole source for the entire publicly accepted narrative of who was behind the bombing and its aftermath—and why these events occurred.
In case we’ve forgotten how convoluted ...
3 Years On: Events, Questions Mark Fukushima Anniversary
2014 03 11
Three years on and the extent of the environmental, human and economic repercussions of the Fukushima incident continue to reveal themselves. Fukushima “fallout” is both literal in terms of radioactive materials, and figurative on a global scale. The politics and opinions around the nuclear issue are far from settled.
In Japan anti-nuclear sentiment runs high, with protesters recently marking the anniversary ...
Real Ukraine Issue: Rogue Reactors and Putin’s ’No-Bama’ Zone in Crimea
2014 03 11
Another week into the ‘Crimea Crisis’ and the kamakizi war rhetoric is still spewing out of Washington, London and their multinational corporate media arms.
You’d think it was Red Dawn all over again, only it’s not.
It all sound very impressive and pumped up in the news rooms, but is there any real substance in it – other than keeping oil and ...
Spraying Chemtrails to ’Reduce Pollution’
2014 03 11
The noxious smog choking Chinese cities is globally notorious, with photos showing the grey darkness that swallows citizens as they try to go about their lives. The thick clouds sometimes turn day to night, and wreak havoc for those with respiratory ailments. Reports of how toxic and damaging the smog is to humans and the environment completes the nightmare scenario, ...
Missing flight: Why are the phantom phones ringing FOUR DAYS after mystery disappearance? (Perhaps not underwater?)
2014 03 11
Many desperate and devastated families of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight are clinging to hope. For days they have been waiting anxiously for any word from officials about the status or location of the plane and its 239 passengers. Some of the family members have been able to ’connect’ to their missing loved ones via cellphones - the phones ring ...
|More News » |