Tellus ‘Takes Off’ this Spring

  • Low-flying aircraft will survey northern County Mayo, and western County Donegal
  • Horse and livestock owners alerted to airborne activity

The next phase of Tellus – a geological mapping project which collects geophysical and geochemical data on rocks, soil and water across Ireland – is set to ‘take off’ over counties Mayo and Donegal in early March.

Involving a low-flying plane equipped with state-of-the-art geophysical technology, the aircraft will be based at Sligo airport and traverse the skies of Mayo and Donegal into the autumn months (weather permitting). Survey activity will assist in understanding the local environment, soil management and natural resource potential for these counties.

Previous phases of Tellus have prompted significant international interest in mineral exploration and provided information for more detailed radon risk maps by providing an up-to-date, comprehensive picture of the country’s geology. Data collected throughout the Tellus project is made freely available via the Tellus website (www.tellus.ie).

Airborne activity over Donegal follows on from previous surveying by the Tellus Border project across eastern Donegal in 2011. The completion of the western part this year will allow for county-wide geological insights.

The Tellus team, led by the Geological Survey Ireland and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE), expect to have surveyed 50% of Ireland by late 2017.

Director of Geological Survey Ireland, Koen Verbruggen, explains the significance of the initiative:

“Tellus continues to unearth significant discoveries in relation to the geological composition of Ireland. By using the latest technology, the next phase of the survey will be delving deep into the environment and natural resources of two regions which are home to some of the oldest rocks in the country.

“With resulting data supporting the protection of public health, agricultural productivity and the assessment of natural resources, the work of the Geological Survey Ireland through the Tellus project continues to provide widespread benefits for the areas surveyed, and Ireland as a whole.”

To gather data, the Tellus project has commissioned an aircraft equipped with the latest geophysical technology, which surveys rural areas at a height of 60m – approximately eight times the height of a two storey house. The aircraft is a white twin propeller plane operated by the specialist survey company, Sander Geophysics Ltd, and is easily identified by its red tail, black stripe and registration number C-GSGF. The airborne survey will operate safely within Irish Aviation Authority permits, however, the sound of the plane flying overhead is similar to that of a passing lorry and could startle young animals and sensitive livestock, such as horses, pedigree cattle and poultry flocks.

Communicating with the local community is a priority for Tellus, said Aoife Brady, Project Manager:

“Tellus operates an extensive communications programme to inform the public of survey operations. We are in close contact with the local community in the area to make sure that people and animals on the ground are not disturbed by survey operations. We would like anyone who has concerns about the low-flying aircraft in relation to sensitive animals to get in touch through our information line on Freephone 1800 303 516.”

Results from Tellus survey activity in 2016 across counties Galway, southern Mayo, and neighbouring parts of Roscommon, Offaly, Clare and Tipperary are due to be released in the upcoming weeks.

For more information on Tellus, including weekly flight plans, please visit www.tellus.ie.

Tellus survey activity concludes for 2016 in West of Ireland

20th October 2016

  • Aerial survey of Galway, Mayo and neighbouring parts of Roscommon, Offaly and Tipperary concludes
  • Ground survey activity in Mayo and west Galway ends for 2016
  • Tellus team extends thanks to all for support and co-operation
  • Minister Kyne welcomes conclusion of successful campaign

A major airborne geophysics survey covering counties Galway, southern Mayo and neighbouring parts of Roscommon, Offaly, Clare and Tipperary has touched down for the final time this year. Ground sampling activity across Mayo and west Galway has also concluded for 2016. It brings to an end the latest surveying by Tellus, a significant geological mapping project led by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment’s Geological Survey Ireland.

Involving the collection of geophysical data on rocks, soil and water across the region, the airborne phase was supported with a comprehensive communications campaign to ensure key stakeholders were informed of the survey and its purpose.

Throughout the summer and autumn months, the specialised twin propeller plane, operated by Sander Geophysics Ltd on behalf of the Geological Survey, traversed the skies on over 100 flights across Western Ireland.

In total, 43,141 km were flown over the four month period – a distance greater than the circumference of the Earth. Flying at a height of 60m over rural areas, the plane was a familiar sight to many local people, particularly to those involved in horse breeding and other livestock owners.

Soil and stream sampling by the Tellus geochemical ground surveying team, operated by OCAE Consultants, has also concluded for 2016. Working in pairs, the team covered a total of 5268km2 since their activity began in May of this year. Similarly supported with a robust communications campaign, almost 72,000 flyers were delivered to households in the survey area.

Minister for Natural Resources, Séan Kyne TD, commented:

“I am pleased to see the successful completion of a further phase of the Tellus aerial survey, alongside continued progress from the ground sampling team, across the West of Ireland. The data provided by the Tellus survey will assist in protecting public health, developing agricultural productivity and allowing for a greater understanding of natural resources – and I look forward to the results being presented to uncover the landscape of the region.”

Geological Survey Ireland Director, Koen Verbruggen commented:

“We have always been very focused on the potential effects of the low-flying plane, and ground sampling activity – particularly for horse and livestock owners. To minimise disruption we implemented a campaign which involved direct communication with as many organisations and individuals as possible. We extend our thanks to all who worked closely with us to spread awareness and particularly to the local stakeholders who co-operated so effectively to ensure the survey ran safely and to schedule.”

Following a period of data checking, mapped results from the airborne survey will be made freely available on the Tellus website from spring 2017, allowing scientists, planners, industry specialists and environmentalists to better understand and manage our natural resources.

“The Tellus Survey continues its rollout across Ireland. It is already delivering many benefits to different sectors of our society, and it offers enormous potential for the future”

added Dr. Jim Hodgson, Tellus Geophysics Programme Manager.

The Tellus team has extended its gratitude to Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Weatherby’s Thoroughbred Stud Book Authority, the Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), and all other groups who helped raise awareness of the survey.

An update on Tellus and other Geological Survey Ireland programmes will be presented as part of the Geoscience2016 conference at Dublin Castle, on 2nd November 2016.

New Stream sediments Ebook released

An Atlas of the Stream Sediment Geochemistry of the Northern Counties of Ireland is now available here (28.9 MB). 

The eBook studies the stream sediment data collected during the Tellus Project in Northern Ireland and the Tellus Border Project in the Republic of Irleand.  The data has been merged to cover all 12 northern counties of the island of Ireland.

View the Ebook and other Tellus documents in our publications section here

Unearthed: Impacts of the Tellus surveys of the north of Ireland book now available

The Tellus team is pleased to announce the publication of ‘Unearthed: Impacts of the Tellus surveys of the north of Ireland’, a book showcasing the outcomes of recent Tellus surveys. Between 2004 and 2013, €15 million of government and EU funding was spent on high-resolution, airborne geophysical and geochemical sampling surveys of Northern Ireland and the six northern counties of the Republic of Ireland. This book presents some of the findings of the first two stages of Tellus, the largest collaborative cross-border programme of geoscience surveys ever undertaken on the island of Ireland.

‘Unearthed: impacts of the Tellus surveys of the north of Ireland details how this unprecedented land and air survey of hidden Ireland rewards us with a more complete understanding of the natural history of this region. It tells an epic story of how Ireland’s geological past will sustain its future’. Professor Iain Stewart MBE

The book is authored by a cross-border team of geoscientists including government and industry scientists and research institution investigators who have worked on Tellus data over the last decade. The book is published by the Royal Irish Academy and available to buy at the Geological Survey of Ireland’s online shop.

Latest Tellus Survey unearths the secrets of Waterford’s rugged coastline

  • New state-of-the-art data expected to stimulate mineral exploration
  • Extent of ancient island-arc volcanoes revealed
  • Geological importance of Copper Coast reinforced by findings

The deeply buried geology of the Waterford region has been revealed in new detail as the results of the most recent phase of the Geological Survey of Ireland’s Tellus Programme are published today at the UNESCO Copper Coast Global Geopark in Co. Waterford.

Complex geology data collected and analysed by the Tellus programme has unveiled island-arc volcanoes, similar to those found in Japan, but which formed some 460 million years ago.

A major geological fault running north-south through the region from Tramore to Mullinavat has also been uncovered in unprecedented detail. These findings will assist economic mineral exploration, as well as contribute to updated geological maps of the area.

Additionally, previously unmapped buried igneous bodies were revealed east of Portlaw and offshore in southern Co. Waterford.

Already known for its rugged coastline and rich geological makeup, the latest findings from the Tellus survey shed more light on the Bunmahon region’s copper mining industry which peaked in the mid-19th century. The area is now recognised for its geological diversity and mining heritage by UNESCO in the Copper Coast Global Geopark designation.

Taking almost 6 million geophysical measurements, the Tellus Survey aircraft traversed the sky over eastern Waterford, southern Kilkenny and neighbouring parts of Tipperary and Wexford in May earlier this year. A familiar sight to many in the region, the plane flew 6,560 km – the equivalent of travelling from Waterford to Canada and back – collecting data that will feed into Ireland’s first seamless cross-border geoenvironmental mapping project which began in 2004.

Funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE), Tellus aims to have surveyed 50% of the country by the end of 2017 and has plans to complete all-Ireland surveying in the coming years. This latest airborne phase of the survey is a partnership between DCENR and Unicorn Mineral Resources Ltd, an Irish mineral exploration company that co-funded this phase.

Speaking today at the launch of the new data at the UNESCO Copper Coast Geopark visitor centre in Bunmahon, Co. Waterford, Minister for Natural Resources Sean Kyne TD said:

“I’m very pleased to see today the results of this very ambitious survey of the Waterford region by the Tellus team. The significance of the region for geological and mining heritage is recognised internationally by UNESCO and it continues to attract mineral exploration companies who are interested in the area’s rich mineral potential. Tellus data stimulates investment in areas already mapped across Ireland and we hope to continue to support the mineral exploration industry, the tourism industry and local economies in Waterford and eventually nationwide in coming years”.

 

Koen Verbruggen, Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland thanked the local community at the event:

“We’re delighted to have successfully completed the latest phase of Tellus surveying and would like to thank the local community, particularly farmers and horse owners, for working with us to ensure the smooth operation of the low-flying aircraft”.

 

Previous phases of Tellus have prompted significant international interest in mineral exploration and provided information for more detailed radon risk maps.   The results are set to be of particular interest to the Copper Coast Geopark in Waterford where today’s survey results are set to be displayed.

 

The new airborne geophysical data from this phase and previous phases of the Tellus Survey are available, free of charge to view and download, at www.tellus.ie. The airborne survey team is currently active in Galway and parts of neighbouring counties, alongside the geochemical survey team which is collecting soil samples in the west of Ireland.

Tellus Sets Sights on West of Ireland

  • Low-flying aircraft will survey Galway, Mayo and neighbouring parts of Roscommon, Offaly, Clare and Tipperary
  • Horse and livestock owners alerted to airborne activity
  • Ground sampling also continues across Mayo and into west Galway

Western Ireland is set to be the focus for Tellus – a geological mapping project which collects geophysical and geochemical data on rocks, soil and water across Ireland – in the months ahead.

An airborne survey, involving a low-flying plane equipped with state-of-the-art geophysical technology, will take flight over the region covering counties Galway, southern Mayo and neighbouring parts of Roscommon, Offaly, Clare and Tipperary in upcoming months (weather permitting).

With soil and stream sampling already underway in Mayo, ground teams are set to continue their geochemical surveying activity in the county and into west Galway and north Clare visiting over 5,000 locations across the summer and autumn months.

Surveying by Tellus will provide an up-to-date, comprehensive picture of the geology of the region with the aim of delivering long term economic, environmental and agricultural benefits. Data, which will be released publically, will also allow for the modernisation of geological maps for planning and research purposes, improve radon risk mapping and promote local mineral exploration.

The Tellus team, led by the Geological Survey of Ireland and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Change and Natural resources, expect to have surveyed 50% of the country by late 2017.

Minister for Natural Resources, Seán Kyne TD, explained the significance of the initiative:

“Tellus has already unearthed significant discoveries in relation to the geological composition of Ireland – from precious metals in the streams and rivers of south east Ireland to buried volcanoes along the Westmeath and Offaly border. The forthcoming phases of the survey will continue to use the latest technology to delve deep into the environment and natural resources of the west of Ireland. The resulting data will offer widespread benefits which will support the protection of public health, agricultural productivity and the assessment of natural resources.”

To gather data the Tellus project has commissioned an aircraft equipped with the latest geophysical technology, which surveys rural areas at a height of 60m – approximately eight times the height of a two storey house.  The aircraft is a white twin propeller plane operated by the specialist survey company, Sander Geophysics Ltd and is easily identified by its red tail, black stripe and registration number C-GSGF. The airborne survey will operate safely within Irish Aviation Authority permits, however, the sound of the plane flying overhead is similar to that of a passing lorry and could startle young animals and sensitive livestock, such as horses, pedigree cattle and poultry flocks.

Members of the geochemical sampling team operated by OCAE Consultants Ltd. – who work in pairs and carry identification – will meanwhile collect samples at regular intervals across the area which is renowned for its complex geology and diverse landscape. Permission to sample land will be sought on the day of sampling, and co-operation from landowners is appreciated.

Communicating with the local community is a priority for Tellus, said Mairead Glennon, Project Manager:

“Tellus operates an extensive communications programme to inform the public of survey operations. We are in close contact with the local community in the area to make sure that people and animals on the ground are not disturbed by survey operations. We would like anyone who has concerns about the low-flying aircraft in relation to sensitive animals to get in touch through our information line on Freephone 1800 303 516”.

For more information on Tellus, including weekly flight plans, please visit www.tellus.ie.

Tellus ‘Takes Off’ Over South East Ireland

  • Aircraft will survey eastern Waterford, parts of southern Tipperary and Kilkenny, and western Wexford
  • Horse and livestock owners alerted to low-flying aircraft

The next phase of Tellus – a geological mapping project which collects and analyses geochemical and geophysical data on rocks, soil and water across Ireland – is ready for take-off over South East Ireland.  Due to fly over the next month (weather permitting), a small aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art technology will traverse the sky over eastern Waterford, parts of southern Tipperary and Kilkenny, and western Wexford collecting a host of geological information.

The resulting data has the potential to deliver positive economic, environmental and agricultural benefits. Previous phases of Tellus have prompted significant international interest in mineral exploration and provided information for more detailed radon risk maps.

The Tellus project, run by the Geological Survey of Ireland and funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR), aims to survey 50% of the country by end 2017. This latest airborne phase of the survey is a partnership between DCENR and Unicorn Mineral Resources Ltd, an Irish mineral exploration company.

Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland, Koen Verbruggen said:

“This is an important and exciting project which is already paying dividends in terms of investment in mineral exploration. Earlier this year, the Tellus Programme announced it had identified more platinum, gold and precious metals in the streams and rivers of south east of Ireland than previously mapped. We are looking forward to unearthing more information from the airborne survey, particularly in an area prospective for metallic minerals that includes Waterford’s Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark, which has a rich mining heritage spanning centuries”.

To gather data the Tellus project has commissioned an aircraft equipped with the latest geophysical technology, which surveys rural areas at a height of 60m – approximately eight times the height of a two storey house.  The aircraft is a white twin propeller plane operated by the specialist survey company, Sander Geophysics Ltd and is easily identified by its red tail, black stripe and registration number C-GSGF.

The survey will operate safely within Irish Aviation Authority permits, however, the sound of the plane flying overhead is similar to that of a passing lorry and could startle sensitive livestock, such as horses, pedigree cattle and lambing ewes. The Tellus survey team is taking every precaution to ensure that the public is fully informed of the flight plans, a point highlighted by Tellus Project Manager, Mairéad Glennon:

“We are in close contact with the local community in the area to make sure that people and animals on the ground are not disturbed by the low flying aircraft. We would like anyone  who has concerns in relation to sensitive animals to get in touch through our information line on Freephone 1800 303 516”.

Check here for this week’s flight lines.

 

Tellus uncovers platinum and gold in south east Leinster

  • Precious metal platinum identified in numerous stream sediments for the first time in Leinster

  • More gold  in Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford than previously known

Applying modern testing methods to stream samples collected in the 1980s, the Geological Survey of Ireland’s Tellus Programme has discovered there is more platinum, gold and precious metals in the streams and rivers of south east of Ireland than previously believed.

The most notable levels of platinum are found mainly in the area to the southeast of the towns of Aughrim and Tinahely on the Wicklow-Wexford border. Rarer than gold, the discovery of platinum is of particular interest as it has never before been analysed in stream sediment from this region. As well as being a premier choice for jewellery, platinum has a significant industrial use in electronics, medical applications and in catalytic converters in cars.

As well as reconfirming high levels of gold in streams near the Goldmines River and Avoca regions of Wicklow, the new data identifies high gold values in streams that flow across and along the edges of the Leinster granite, a complex area long thought to be a source for the gold mineralisation in the region.

High gold values in streams have also been identified in County Waterford, in the Dungarvan to Stradbally area, locally known as the ‘Gold Coast’ and is thought to be sourced from 450 million-year-old volcanic rocks in the area.

The recently reanalysed data from the Tellus Survey team also highlights a broad zone of gold in County Wicklow, north of the Sugar Loaf region where only small traces of the precious metal have been found previously.

It is hoped that this new data, along with additional data from samples due to be released later this year, will offer a fresh perspective of Ireland’s natural resources with the scope for further exploration attracting  additional inward investment.

Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland, Koen Verbruggen said:

“The mining and mineral exploration industry’s contribution to the Irish economy has been considerable over the past five decades. The industry is currently suffering from a major global downturn due to low commodity prices, which coupled with a scarcity of recent economically significant discoveries has seen Ireland’s indigenous production of metals retreat with the closure of a number of mines. A core strategy of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and that of the Geological Survey of Ireland is to support investment and development of this important industry by producing high-quality openly available geological information to identify new areas for exploration. I am pleased to see the latest Tellus data highlighting new insights, and opening new possible opportunities for investment into our underexplored country”.

StreamSediment_Pt_media_low_Low_res

Ray Scanlon, Principal Geologist at the Geological Survey of Ireland’s Tellus Programme, explains that the resulting maps detailing the natural variability of precious metals across this region show how Ireland is largely underexplored for a variety of precious metals and critical raw materials:

“The Tellus geochemistry programme, which is underway across the country, continues to reveal fascinating and previously unknown details of Ireland’s natural resources. This type of geological information and understanding is vital not only for economic reasons but also for environmental, health and agricultural planning.”

Tellus aims to have surveyed 50% of the country by the end of 2017 and has plans to complete national surveying in the coming years. A geochemical sampling survey will be undertaken with a team of agricultural scientists gathering stream samples across the West, Midlands and East over the next two years. The Tellus Programme also includes an airborne survey which will be active in the Waterford region later this spring and Galway later in the year.

The new geochemical data for south east Ireland and all previous phases of the Tellus Survey are available, free of charge, to view and download. The new data released today will be showcased next week at a major international convention, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) in Toronto on the 7th March.

Gold factsheet (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Platinum factsheet (PDF, 967 KB)

Latest Tellus Airborne geophysics survey results are released

  • Findings unearth ‘building blocks’ of Ireland
  • Results set to assist mineral exploration industry

The long buried geological history of the Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow, Offaly and Laois region has been revealed in new detail as the results of the most recent phase of the Geological Survey of Ireland’s Tellus Programme are published.

Taking almost 30 million geophysical measurements over a 5,810km2 area, the low-flying Tellus Survey aircraft traversed the sky over Eastern Ireland from June to October last year. Flying over 32,000 km – the equivalent of travelling from Ireland to Australia and back – the resulting data has uncovered new findings which will feed into Ireland’s first seamless cross-border geoenvironmental mapping project which began in 2007.

The geophysical magnetic maps reveal the join between two ancient continents which collided 400 million years ago, to form Ireland as we know it today. The complex fault lines of this collision, located in a wedge-shaped area in Co. Meath between Navan and Drogheda, are highlighted in new detail. The location of Europe’s largest zinc mine, operated by Boliden Tara Mines Ltd, is shown to be at a junction of these ancient fault lines. It is anticipated that further study of the data by geologists will enhance exploration for base metals and other natural resources across Ireland.

Data is available to view and download, free of charge. The new data release will be shown at a major geological conference, the 59th Irish Geological Research Meeting, at the National University of Ireland, Galway on 19-21st February, 2016.

A1 Tellus Map - 2

Topsoil Geochemistry eBook Released

An atlas of the topsoil geochemistry of the Northern Counties of Ireland is now available.

The eBook studies the topsoil data collected during the Tellus Project in Northern Ireland and the Tellus Border Project in the Republic of Irleand.  The data has been merged to cover all 12 northern counties of the island of Ireland.

View the eBook in our publications section here