We're always on the lookout for new advances in magnetism, and this is certainly an interesting application of it. Researchers have been tracking pollution using magnetism from an unexpected source - leaves.
It sounds like King Midas has been wandering around the forest, but truth isn't as fantastical as it sounds. Smog, smoke and other polluting emissions produce iron oxide particles, and those particles have a tendency to get stuck to the surface of leaves. So, in truth, it's not the leaves themselves that are magnetized, but the metal particles attached to them.
The study shows that foliage near highways is up to 10x more magnetic than wooded areas away from pollutants. While there's not an immediate or apparent way to use the findings of the study to fix the environment, the potential for further research and data collection is significant.
Posted by Jay Roberts at 03:07 PM | Permalink