Feeds

Money really does GROW ON TREES say boffins

Who needs big data when you can find gold leaf on trees?

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

In an outlying suburb of the Australian capital, Canberra, lies an enormous warehouse filled with over 100,000 data tapes. The warehouse is owned by Geoscience Australia (GA), which keeps a copy of every mine survey every conducted in Australia.

Back in 2005 GA embarked on an epic project to re-platform its old tape archive, comprising over 400,000 tapes in all manner of old formats. One reason for the project was increasing demand from “data miners” who were keen to go prospecting with modern computing kit in the hope of striking it rich by conducting intensive analysis of old survey data.

GA's often mentioned in storage circles as a fine example of how to archive data, and a big data case study.

The organisation's former role remains unchallenged. Big data folks may have a bit less to latch on to after Australian boffins found a link between the composition of foliage and minerals below the soil.

Detailed in Nature, which carries a paper titled Natural gold particles in Eucalyptus leaves and their relevance to exploration for buried gold deposits, the boffins compared trees in greenhouses where soil was doped with gold and trees in the wild near known near known gold deposits.

The results were similar in both populations, leading the scientists to feel confident stating there's a good link between the quantity of gold in a leaf and the quantity of gold underground.

The paper says the experiment was worth doing because “New Au [gold] discoveries are down by 45% over the last 10 years,” which suggests “Novel exploration techniques are required to find the more difficult deposits hidden beneath sediments.”

They're not wrong: some gold mines quite happy to work deposits where just five grams of gold can be found in each ton of ore, but anything that makes gold easier to find is welcome.

If miners can simply pluck some leaves from trees and send them to a lab for analysis, that may well be a cheaper and easier way of doing some initial prospecting than schlepping tools out into the field to retrieve a weightier sample. It may also be less hassle and expense than borrowing some of GA's tapes and firing up a hadoop cluster, although once the foliage has been harvested it's hard to imagine miners won't also take a leaf from the big data playbook as they try to make more green folding stuff. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.