Find your treasure with handheld XRF and handheld LIBS

August 18, 2020

Click above to watch video segment -  Copyright History Channel

"Lost Gold of World War II" and SciAps Z elemental analyzer

Lost Gold of WWII

SciAps is a fan of the History Channel. From "Pawn Stars" to "Lost Gold of World War II," they unearth hidden treasures and help us learn about our world through artifacts. We get it — our handheld analyzers help identify hidden treasures from piles of scrap to mining sites around the globe.

Lost Gold of WWII

Well, the two have finally come together. The History Channel’s "Lost Gold of World War II" recently aired an episode (Season 2, Episode 5), that showed the SciAps Z-300 handheld analyzer solving a mystery of a rock formation. We encourage you to go to the History Channel and download the entire show. It's just the latest example of how SciAps handheld LIBS — the leader for Earth and beyond —is expanding the world of handheld analysis.

Lost Gold of WWII

In the episode, treasure hunters Rick and John discover an unusual rock layer in Breach 6.

Lost Gold of WWII

To make matters more interesting, a helicopter is spotted doing aerial surveillance where they're working, the first time this has happened in the two years they’ve been at the site. And they also now have in their hands a treasure map from the files of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos that looks like the mountain they are excavating. Could they be closer to discovering the lost gold that they've been hunting for?

Lost Gold of WWII

Gerard Moulzolf, a petrographer/geologist, performs a number of geologic tests on the rock sample to determine what it is. He's using the SciAps Z-300 handheld LIBS, which will determine the elements present and their relative percentages. Unexpectedly, the LIBS identifies calcium, carbon, oxygen, and iron to determine that the rock is red marble, which is not native to the Philippines.

Lost Gold of WWII
SciAps Z-300 LIBS analyzer
Lost Gold of WWII

Using what he's learned about the rock, Moulzolf tracks down the exact quarry where the red marble originated. It's from a French quarry known to have been mined since the 1st century by the Romans. King Louis XIV used the same quarry for the red marble in the Palace of Versailles.

Lost Gold of WWII

Since the red marble is not a natural occurrence in the Philippines, someone put it there for a reason. What is that reason? Are they getting closer to the treasure?

Download Season 2, Episode 5 to find out!

How do SciAps analyzers facilitate the hunt for gold?

SciAps handheld LIBS and XRF are excellent tools for detecting gold and other elements, including determining gold provenance.

SciAps X-550
  • Handheld portable XRF has become a common tool in the arsenal of field geoscientists in a range of applications from cradle to grave in mining operations today.
  • The technique of measuring and mapping the concentrations and combination of elements associated with gold mineralization can not only potentially identify targets for gold mineralization but inform geologists on the style of mineralization or the pathfinder elements.
  • The LIBS can map elemental distribution in geological samples in the field, producing a comprehensive spectral data set allowing all elements to be represented between 200-900 nm.
  • Using the Z-300 with GeoChem Pro App, element maps can be generated with ease in less than 1 minute. This powerful and spatially precise analytical technique is ideally suited to the analysis of specific minerals and areas of interest on drill core, rock chips or hand specimens.
  • SciAps handheld LIBS analyzers can be used to understand the distribution of elements with a high degree of spatial precision using a 50um laser and in-built X-Y stage for rastering.
  • Using SciAps Profile Builder PC software, individual spectra can now be selected from within the element maps to process using matrix-specific calibrations for quantification or exported for analysis using multivariate statistical methods for mineral identification and classification.
  • In the case of gold exploration and mining, not only is the positive identification of the presence or absence of gold now achievable, but information about where the gold is located, its associated geochemical signal, and the minerals with which its distribution is associated can be understood by a geologist in the field.

Read the LIBS Gold ApNote

Download more SciAps geochemistry ApNotes

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