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Geobotanical prospecting

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**Geobotanical Prospecting Overview:**
– Principle: Soil-plant interaction indicates mineral content.
– History: Chinese used plants for mineral location since 5th century BC.
– Methods: Indicator plant identification, remote sensing, lab analysis.
– Indicator Plants: Silene suecica, Viscaria Mine, Pandanus candelabrum.
– Advantages: Cost-effective, environmentally sustainable, time-efficient.

**Remote Sensing Techniques in Geobotanical Prospecting:**
– Aerial photography and satellite imagery aid in surveying.
– Determine mineral concentrations in plants through remote sensing.
– Enhances understanding of geological composition through plant life.

**Specific Applications in Geobotanical Prospecting:**
– Gold Prospecting: Arsenic as a pathfinder mineral, Artemisia shrubs for gold.
– Uranium Prospecting: Bryophytes like mosses indicate uranium levels.
– Other Resources: Pandanus candelabrum for Kimberlite pipes, Pinus brutia for Iron and Zinc.

**Challenges and Limitations of Geobotanical Prospecting:**
– Success factors: Plant diversity, climate, and indicator plant specificity.
– Seasonal variations impact appearance-based methods.
– Climate conditions affect remote sensing accuracy.
– Anthropogenic influences and pollutants can impact results.

**Advanced Techniques and Research in Geobotanical Prospecting:**
– Multi-Element Soil Analysis: Reveals historical land-use and geochemical insights.
– Geophysical Surveys: Characterize geological features non-invasively.
– Biogeochemistry of Uranium: Studies on toxicity, pollution, and ore genesis.
– Plant-Based Indicators: Near-surface geophysical surveys, aquatic bryophytes for uranium, scandium biogeochemistry.

Geobotanical prospecting refers to prospecting based on the composition and health of surrounding botanical life to identify potential resource deposits. Using a variety of techniques, including indicator plant identification, remote sensing and determining the physical and chemical condition of the botanical life in the area, geobotanical prospecting can be used to discover different minerals. This process has clear advantages and benefits, such as being relatively non-invasive and cost efficient. However, the efficacy of this method is not without question. There is evidence that this form of prospecting is a valid scientific method, especially when used in conjunction with other prospecting methods. But as identification of commercial mines are invariably guided by geological principles and confirmed by chemical assays, it is unclear as to whether this prospecting method is a valid standalone scientific method or an outdated method of the past.

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