According to Real Clear Science, “Approximately 30% of the world's demonstrably accessible gold reserves lie buried in the [Goldfields-Esperance] region.”
Scientists have known for some time that gold deposits are occasionally found in eucalyptus trees in this gold-rich area, but what makes this a landmark study is that it settles a long debate about where the gold comes from.
Before now, scientists couldn’t prove the gold deposits came from deeper underground rather than from gold already on the surface. (via Nature)
“The tree acts like a hydraulic pump. Water is being brought up with nutrients and a little bit of gold right up to the foliage.” (via CSIRO)
"... the gold is contained within the leaf and not just in the surfaces dust which is very important.”
Now before you grab a saw and book your flight down under, you should know there is no actually no value in the gold that makes it to the tree limbs.
“Each tree contains such a small amount of gold—46 parts per billion, to be exact—that it would take hundreds to compile enough for a wedding ring.” (via Gizmodo)
But the study could give a better method to decide where to look.
According to researchers, analyzing vegetation could offer a more accurate and cheaper method for finding gold-rich zones. (via BBC)
Researchers also believe this method could be used to find other minerals in the soil like iron, copper and lead.