Following Termites May Lead You To Gold

Following Termites May Lead You To Gold

These days many people are stressed about not having enough money for doing what they want, or even paying their bills. It would be nice to forget all these troubles by winning the lottery or stumbling upon a suitcase full of money. Some people may be getting desperate enough to start digging for gold. If you happen to be a potential gold prospector, then you may want to pay close attention to termites. Researchers have recently discovered that even termites stockpile quantities of gold, but not for the same reason humans do.

A few recent experiments carried out in western Australia have shown that termites stockpile gold and other precious metals while they are searching for nest-building materials. An entomologist, Aaron Stewart, along with researchers from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation compared materials found in termite nests to soil located at varying depths within the ground. After compiling several samples, Stewart used a mass spectrometer in order to analyze the molecular composition of materials found within termite nests and beneath the ground soil. Stewart found that termites collected materials that contain gold, some more so than others. Termites nesting in areas where gold exists beneath the ground had a greater amount of gold located within their nests when compared to termites that were nesting farther away from underground gold deposits.

According to Robert Matthews, a professor emeritus of entomology at the University of Georgia, it has long been known that social insects accumulate metals from their environments. He also mentioned that analyzing ant and termite nests in order to locate different types of metals has also been considered in the past. This happens to be precisely what Stewart is hoping will happen. Gold deposits are typically located just a few meters below the surface of the ground, which means that termites living in gold rich regions will certainly come into contact with gold. Stewart seems excited to use termites in order to track down gold, for science of course.

Are you surprised that gold prospectors have not already tried using termites to locate gold? Or do you think they have, but the method ultimately proved to be a waste of time?

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