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How To Use Trees To Prospect For Gold
Popular Science ^ | 01.08.2014 | By Douglas Main

Posted on 01/14/2014 9:12:22 PM PST by Jet Jaguar

There's gold in them leaves!

They say money doesn't grow on trees, but gold and other precious metals can accumulate in plants. Researchers recently discovered relatively high levels of gold in the leaves of a eucalyptus tree in Western Australia, before uncovering a deposit of the metal more than 100 feet beneath it. “Finding such high concentrations of gold in the foliage of this tree growing over a gold deposit buried beneath 35 meters of weathered rock was a complete surprise,” Melvyn Lintern, a geochemist at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), told The Scientist.

Perhaps surprisingly, it's been known for more than a century that plants may accumulate gold and other valuable metals. In 1900, an inventor from Brooklyn named Emil Lungwitz reported that plants can accumulate gold, The Scientist noted. But it never caught on as a prospecting method, in part because it wasn't clear whether gold found in plants came from viable deposits, or if it ended up there from atmospheric dust.

But the study, published in Nature Communications, determined the gold found in the leaves derived from underground, which is the first time this has been definitively shown in a wild plant (not raised in a lab).

The finding suggests that it could make economic sense to "prospect" for gold with plants, sampling a small amount of leaf matter in trees to find precious metal deposits, according to the study. This method would also be more environmentally friendly than typical prospecting methods, The Scientist reported. And plant matter can also be sampled year-round and in many environments; it's difficult to dig or drill in some areas during the winter, or in certain soil types.


TOPICS: Hobbies; Science
KEYWORDS: gold; prospecting
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1 posted on 01/14/2014 9:12:22 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: Jet Jaguar

2 posted on 01/14/2014 9:27:56 PM PST by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Ok. But how?


3 posted on 01/14/2014 10:10:08 PM PST by Fungi
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To: Fungi

Take a leaf and dip it in mercury. Then burn the mercury away. If there is anything shiny, you’re good.

My best guess.


4 posted on 01/14/2014 10:20:32 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: Jet Jaguar

Unless you breathe the mercury fumes and then all the gold in the world won’t repair you.


5 posted on 01/14/2014 10:39:37 PM PST by DannyTN (A>)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Could a metal detector be fine tuned enough to pick up a threshold of gold in a plant?


6 posted on 01/14/2014 10:40:16 PM PST by DannyTN (A>)
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To: DannyTN

The two I own could not.


7 posted on 01/14/2014 10:41:18 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: DannyTN

Could we use one of those “curly” light bulbs to prospect the leaves?


8 posted on 01/14/2014 11:26:09 PM PST by VerySadAmerican (".....Barrack, and the horse Mohammed rode in on.")
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To: Fungi

My guess is that a Mass Spectrometer would come in handy for this task. (Or perhaps a tricorder.)


9 posted on 01/14/2014 11:29:20 PM PST by BRK
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To: Jet Jaguar

Half the gold ever mined comes from one large asteroid strike in South Africa billions of years ago. Gold is much more abundant in the Solar System than it is on the surface of the Earth. Most of it has been dragged toward the Earth’s core by molten iron.


10 posted on 01/14/2014 11:39:08 PM PST by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Buy my Gold Detection Kit for $14.95 and you’ll know where the gold is. (Plus S&H)


11 posted on 01/14/2014 11:44:44 PM PST by count-your-change (you don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough)
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To: Jet Jaguar
But it never caught on as a prospecting method

Plant associations with the mineral suite of the deposits associated with precious metals was used by savvy prospectors in the old west, and I'm sure elsewhere. Some of them actively accumulate some of the metals for enhanced disease and herbivore resistance and others are just tolerant of them to capitalize on water associated with the exposures structural trends...

12 posted on 01/14/2014 11:58:56 PM PST by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: DannyTN

No way. There’s a tree, IIRC, in S. Africa that picks up nickel in large amounts, maybe with that, but it couldn’t be in a compound, it would have to be metallic.


13 posted on 01/15/2014 12:04:15 AM PST by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: count-your-change

Gold is where you find it.

That’s an old timer joke, and at the same time true. It seems to always end up being found where it “can’t occur”. I saw a youtube video recently where the author bought a sack of sand at Home Depot and panned gold out of it. The Fort Knox mine was like that, a granite hosted gold (in quartz stringers) IIRC. The author of a book I have on prospecting sold the claim that had the strike for a pittance, The area had produced about 8 million ounces of placer, but no one could noodle out the source, and it was right under many peoples nose in the local granite hillocks. The guy who bought his claim didn’t know any better and cleaved off the covering growth of one after putzing around for a while. I think he made something like a half billion on that hit...


14 posted on 01/15/2014 12:16:29 AM PST by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: Fungi

I just put a handful of leaves from a bush out in the back yard and dropped them in my gold pan. They all washed out. No gold I guess.


15 posted on 01/15/2014 12:25:20 AM PST by 21twelve (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2185147/posts 2013 is 1933 REBORN)
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To: Jet Jaguar
"It's not about having the gold. It's about finding the gold."
16 posted on 01/15/2014 1:51:35 AM PST by eCSMaster ("It is not the color of his skin, ... it is the blackness that fills his soul")
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To: DannyTN; Jet Jaguar

I would think that the soil under an old deep-rooted deciduous tree would be rich in gold micro-particles. Probably not enough concentration to register with a standard detector.


17 posted on 01/15/2014 3:12:43 AM PST by panaxanax
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To: Jet Jaguar

Geologic uniformitarians tell us it takes 4.5 billion years for placer gold deposits to accumulate in our streams. But here in Georgia we find fresh gold after every major rain. There is even cases of gold forming on underground mining timbers in Australia. It is true that “gold is where you find it” unless your prospecting partner is wearing gold repellant!


18 posted on 01/15/2014 3:44:50 AM PST by 2nd Amendment (Proud member of the 48% . . giver not a taker)
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To: Moonman62

It obviously makes sense that the interior of the earth would be heated by radioactivity, and we know that the interior is molten lava, down to some point. The core would be molten iron, yes - but also all other metals, including gold, silver, and platinum, in various quantities. It would seem inevitable that there’s more molten gold at the core than there is solid gold accessible from the surface.

But since Al Gore, expert that he is, informs us that the temperature down there is “millions of degrees,” I guess there’s no way we’ll ever see and touch it.


19 posted on 01/15/2014 5:05:05 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Are you frickin kidding me?

20 posted on 01/15/2014 5:15:55 AM PST by McGruff (I stand with Phil.)
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