Geochemistry of Termite Hills as a Tool for Geochemical Exploration of Glass Sand in the Iraqi Western DesertSalih Muhammad AwadhEarth Science Department, College of Science, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
Sand glass deposits was located in the mid of the Western Desert of Iraq. It is situated within Rutba Forma-tion (Ceno-manian). Ancient traditional mining method is still used in exploitation the unconsolidated white glass sand from glass sand quarry. The overburden thickness ranges from 2 to 4 m in average. Termite hills were observed around the glass sand quarry extending far from the quarry area. Termites could burrows down and penetrate the sand glass bringing it up to the surface. The depth of penetration reaches more than 35 m. The field observation of the white color of termite hills which are built up by sand glass gave a good indicator for the hidden subsurface deposit and it appears to be a surface signature for finding glass sand di-rectly under the termite hills. The scattered white hills of glass sand on the surface with high content of SiO2, concordant Zr/Hf and Th/U ratios and heavy mineral distribution in both of quarry and termite hills provide a strong evidence of that those termite hills could be an effective tool for exploring subsurface hidden glass sand up to 35 m depth.