Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fool's Gold: Scientists Discover Gold in Eucalyptus Trees

The old saying goes "Money doesn't grow on trees", but the leaves of the eucalyptus tree may hold clues that there is gold in the ground beneath them!

Scientists in Australia have discovered that many plants and trees in the drier areas of the country have root systems that burrow deep within the earth in search of precious water in order to survive. (Australia is the driest nation on the planet, as the current devastating wildfires will attest.) The trees, in particular the eucalyptus, then absorb gold and other mineral particles from the ground. In an effort to expel the toxic heavy metals, the particles of gold are then expelled through the leaves, which are the favorite treats of those adorable koala bears!

The gold particles are extremely tiny—only about one-tenth the width of a normal human hair— which means it would take a lot of particles to make any money. The presence of the gold particles in the trees, however, would be a good indication that there are gold deposits located in the ground beneath the trees, which is good news for any prospectors Down Under!

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