January 2013

  • 24 January 2013

    Brazilian Expedition to Collect Unusual Platinum Grains

    Many people imagine a typical scientist's workplace to be a sterile white laboratory littered with microscopes and specimens. While this is true some of the time, researchers at the South Australian Museum travel on adventurous expeditions to develop their expertise, even braving life-threatening situations in regional Brazil.

    Our world-class minerals scientists have just returned from a field trip to the South American country, where they collected unique platinum grains. They want to study how bacteria may affect the movements of this precious metal in soils and waters. A particular creek in Brazil is the only known accessible site where platinum is found to have grown in sediments into attractive clusters up to half a millimetre in size (which is large for a platinum sample).

    Fortunately, the South Australian Museum's Professor Joël Brugger and his colleagues survived the journey to tell the tale.

  • 16 January 2013

    Liquid Mining: Olympic Dam in a Test Tube

    New minerals research at the South Australian Museum is set to change the face of the mining industry.

    South Australian Museum Head of Earth Sciences Professor Allan Pring and his team are working on the concept of 'liquid mining'. "Imagine being able to get copper out of an ore body without having to dig any holes – that's the holy grail that we are working towards," says Professor Pring.

  • 09 January 2013

    Kangaroo Island Seal Survey

    The colonies of New Zealand Fur Seals off South Australia's Kangaroo Island are shining examples of successful mammal recovery.

    Since they were hunted in the early nineteenth century, the population has recovered and has been growing at around 10% each year for the last 24 years. So steady is the increase that these seals are actually being called a 'pest' by some industry groups and there is local debate about culling the animals.

    Our marine mammal expert, Honorary Researcher Dr Peter Shaughnessy, has been consulted by the Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board (NRMB) about ideas to control the populations.