Gold Digging Expedition

Gold Digging Expedition

Jan 25, 2016 | Aratrika Ghose

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One of the professors of the department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, Dr. Shakthi S. Chinnasamy, has recently bagged a fast-track project from the Department of Science and Technology. The budget for this project titled, ‘Stable Isotope and Fluid Inclusion Studies of Orogenic Gold Deposits in Darwar craton’ has been allocated and approved a budget of INR 23 lakhs.

Dr. Chinnasamy explains that despite India’s need for gold per annum being 1000 tons, we are able to indigenously produce only about 10 tons – 4 of which comes from Hutti Gold Field and the rest comes from illegal mines. Thus, we import most of our gold and spend a large sum on buying from a foreign market at a higher rate. If this study bears fruit, then it will help us understand the origin of gold and the pressure and temperature conditions under which it is formed, so that we can find similar areas and dig for gold.

The fluid inclusion method that is being used in this study basically deals with a study of the various entrapped fluids inside the gold rocks. Hot hydrothermal fluids have carried these gold rocks and have lead to their formation, thus if we can study these fluids, we will be able to get some information regarding the rock’s origin. This method is aided by stable isotope which helps us understand the composition of these fluids and the type of isotopes present in them.

In this regard, students of the department had been taken on a field trip to the Kolar gold fields where this study is being conducted, from 4th to 14th of December, 2016. The Kolar Gold field which has produced about 800 tons of gold and has been dug to an astonishing 4.3km beneath the ground, is the deepest mine in India. It was shut down in 2000, after its entire reserve had been exhausted. Thus, the study being conducted is mostly concentrated on satellite mines around the original Kolar gold field, in a gold deposit called Chikargunda. This served as a hands-on training experience for the students, which will be essential for those wanting to join the industry.

Team Monday Morning, wishes Dr. Chinnaswamy all the very best for his work on this project.

Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

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