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
US Silent on Psychologists Role in CIA’s Tortures: Doctors
Physicians for Human Rights had not received any response from the US Federal Commission to their call to investigate the role of health professionals in CIA’s torture program, Deputy Director of the organization told Sputnik.
December 19 (Sputnik) — US government has not responded to calls to prosecute doctors, who participated in CIA torture program, the Deputy Director of Communications for ...
Ziolebrities: Simon Cowell donates £100,000 to Israeli soldiers to please pregnant jewish girlfriend Lauren Silverman
Cowell, 54, is also planning a secret trip to Israel soon as he embraces the Jewish faith of Silverman, 36
Gala: Billionaire Haim Saban with Cowell
Simon Cowell has publicly donated nearly £100,000 in support of the Israeli army.
The X Factor boss pledged the cash to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces at a US fund-raiser in Beverly Hills.
The lavish gala ...
Former Chief Security Officer for NewsCorp: N. Koreans Not Behind Sony Hack, Interview Leak
Hemanshu Nigam, a former federal prosecutor and former chief security officer for NewsCorp/Fox studios, says North Korea isn’t behind the Sony Hack.
Nigam gave several bullet points for why the hack was likely an inside job.
Attack code borrowed from a previous attack on Seoul, that’s why it’s in Korean. Private hackers typically borrow malicious code from other hackers.Nations state attacks follow ...
Sony Fires Back at Obama: Actually We Did Call the White House – Several Times
Sony fired back at Obama after the press conference saying they had several conversations with the Obama White House before and after the movie was canceled.
Via The Hollywood Reporter:
After President Obama criticized Sony for its decision to cancel The Interview's release after theater chains decided not to show the film, the studio has issued a statement elaborating on the move.
The Bankster International
Geopolitical analysis, the art of explaining power relationships through the prism of impersonal geography, can be a helpful tool for observers of the Great Game – but it also has its limitations. A case in point is the renewed US-Russia confrontation. Think tanks and policy insiders easily sell the narrative that from the dark days of the Cold War to ...
|More News » |