Gum trees reveal possible gold ore deposits

Eucalyptus trees in the Kalgoorlie region of Western Australia are drawing up gold particles from the earth and depositing it their leaves and branches.

The roots, which extend tens of metres into the ground, draw up water containing tiny gold particles and then move them to the leaves and branches. The gold is then released or shed to the ground, as it is likely to be toxic to the plants.

These tiny gold nuggets, about one-fifth the diameter of a human hair and generally invisible, can be seen using advanced x-ray imaging.

This discovery could lead to a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly exploration technique used to seek out gold ore deposits buried up to tens of metres underground and under sediments that are up to 60 million years old.

It could also be used to find other metals such as zinc and copper.

Read more at CSIRO