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A research team discovered that the branches and leaves of eucalyptus trees absorb gold particles when they are growing over deposits of the precious metal.
Digging around and looking for gold is a tough, messy business, but there’s hope for cleaner, easier discoveries ahead.
According to a team of Australian scientists, all prospectors may need to be on the lookout for eucalyptus trees.
The team discovered that the branches and leaves absorb gold particles when the trees are growing over deposits of the precious metal.
They took living tissue samples from several specimens located both above and near two known gold-rich sites.
X-ray aided observations of the trees’ leaves, twigs, and bark confirmed that the living materials had over time absorbed microscopic gold particles.
Those closest to the known deposits had the greatest concentrations of particles, and those furthest away had the least.
The scientists concluded that eucalyptus trees have the power to absorb gold through their roots, even if the lodes are located the equivalent of 10 stories below ground.
Absorption amounts weren’t enough to eradicate the need for mining – it would take 500 trees to collect enough gold to make a ring – but it could make looking for fruitful sites much more efficient.