Diamonds may be easier to come by than you think; all you need are a few termite colonies. You probably assume that termites are not good for anything besides destroying expensive properties, but it turns out that termites can lead a person to riches just as easily as they can lead a person to financial ruin. For example, an article in the Arizona Daily Star that was written on April 7th 1968, describes how a group of kids stumbled upon a small fortune of diamonds in the desert. According to the article, police in Jerusalem seized 36,000 dollars worth of stolen diamonds after a group of children found termites carrying the diamonds on their backs within the desert. Apparently, the diamonds were being hidden within the walls of a house located in the desert. This incident may seem impossible, or maybe a once in a lifetime sort of event, but in reality, even diamond miners make use of termites.
During the 1970s, a geologist discovered a mineral called ilmenite on the desert surface in the African country of Botswana. This finding was exciting for the geologist, as ilmenite comes from a type of rock known as kimberlite. Some of you may know kimberlite as the stone that hosts diamonds. Therefore, the geologist who found the ilmenite knew that diamond-rich kimberlite must have been below the surface. However, kimberlite is normally located at least thirty feet below the earth’s surface. So the geologist relied on termites to bring the diamonds up to the surface. The ilmenite was found within an abandoned termite mound, which makes sense, as the dry desert sand is not fit for mound-construction. This forces termites to travel several feet below the earth’s surface in order to obtain water and more durable minerals for mound construction. In some cases, desert termites end up bringing diamonds to the ground’s surface. Termites can travel 40 meters or more beneath the earth’s surface in order to find durable minerals. This is why modern diamond miners are paying close attention to termites and the mounds that they build.
Do you think that termites have ever made a person rich by signifying where diamonds were located?