It may be difficult to believe, but a team of Australian researchers from CSIRO has found that in dry conditions, eucalyptus trees, as they search for moisture, can actually point to miners the location of massive gold deposits just by looking at their leaves.
Indian archaeologists have started digging at a ruined fort following a godman's dream that 1000 tons of gold may be found at the site.
During drought or extremely hot weather conditions, the roots of eucalyptus trees go down as deep as 35 metres below ground to hunt for moisture. As it absorbs on the moisture, the tree actually likewise absorbs through its roots the precious mineral up to its very leaves. Suffice to say, no matter how much people might want to keep and stall the discovery of a potential gold deposit, it will nonetheless still be found out because of the eucalyptus trees seemingly glittering aura.
"The moisture that's in the ground might interact with the gold deposits and dissolve small amounts," researcher Melvyn Lintern said.
"The roots absorb the gold as an ion into the roots and that's moving along with the water flow within the tree. There's a continuum of water going up through the tree into the foliage to replace the water that's lost through transpiration."
"The breakthrough we made was to be actually able to actually see particulate gold with this magic piece of equipment called the Australian Synchrotron in the leaves themselves," Mr Lintern said.
"This is a first. We know that gold occurs in leaves but this is the very first time that gold has been found as a visible particle in any biological material, let alone leaves. Any biological material at all."
However, Mr Lintern immediately doused thoughts that trees above possible gold deposits could already bear gold.
"If you had 500 eucalypt trees growing over a gold deposit, they would only have enough gold in there to make a wedding ring,'' Mr Lintern said.
"There might be tonnes of gold underneath and yet the amount of gold in the tree is very small.''
What's certain is that eucalyptus trees might offer cheaper, and better, clues to gold deposits, saving would-be gold miners from potentially expensive wide-area drilling tests just to look for gold.
"Mineral exploration will benefit by embracing and understanding" how leaves might reveal secrets hidden underground, the study authors concluded.
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