Tellus Geochemistry survey commencement in the West and Midlands of Ireland

Tellus to ‘dig deep’ into the geology of the West and Midlands of Ireland

The Tellus ground sampling survey, following on from last year’s airborne survey, has largely completed sampling in county Galway and will continue across counties Roscommon and neighbouring parts of Offaly, Westmeath and Longford until late autumn. Tellus, a national programme led by the Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) to examine the chemical and physical properties of the soils, rocks and water of Ireland, is set to collect approximately 4,000 soil and stream samples this year.

The samples will be analysed for a broad range of elements useful for assessing the health of the environment, agricultural nutrients and trace elements. The results will provide new data to advance the on-going radon risk mapping in the area, and information on regional variations in soil properties that can impact on soil fertility and grass yields which will be useful to the local agricultural community.

The sample collection is being carried out by OCAE Consultants Ltd., on behalf of the GSI. Working in pairs and carrying identification, the samplers will move in an eastwards direction across the country into the autumn months. Soil samples will be taken from the top 50cm of the ground and weigh approximately 1kg. Small bottles of stream water will also be collected, along with less than 500g of sediment from designated areas. Each sampling area will be approximately 4km2 apart.

Tellus will also help boost the local business community with three geochemical analysis contracts recently awarded to Loughrea-based laboratory, OMAC Laboratories Ltd. (trading as) ALS Loughrea. The Galway laboratory will be responsible for analysing the pH, loss-on-ignition (organic carbon) and multi-element analysis of samples collected by Tellus surveys across the country for the next four years.

Minister for Natural Resources, Séan Kyne TD, commented:

“This latest phase of the Tellus mapping project, funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, is about developing our understanding of Ireland’s geological make-up in order to better protect public health, increase agricultural productivity and allow for a greater understanding of our natural resources.

“I am delighted to see local company, ALS Loughrea, successfully secure three contracts to carry out geochemical analysis for the Tellus project and hope that the continued success of the ALS Loughrea will help create further jobs in the region, supporting the local economy.”

Geological Survey Ireland Director, Koen Verbruggen, added:

“The Tellus survey is an on-going national programme – which is due to have surveyed 50% of the country by the end of 2017. Ground and stream sampling activity in the upcoming months will follow-on from the work which the sampling teams carried out last year in Mayo and west Galway.

“We would like to thank stakeholders in advance for their co-operation around sampling on their land, as without their help this important geological activity would not be able to take place. If landowners or members of the public have any concerns, they can get in contact with the Tellus team through the Freephone Information Line on 1800 303 516.”

Results from previous phases of the Tellus Survey are available, free of charge, to view and download at Tellus, along with further information on current survey activity.

Tellus ‘Takes Flight’ Over Donegal and Mayo

It’s a case of ‘eyes to the sky’ over western County Donegal and northern County Mayo as the latest airborne phase of Tellus, a major geological survey of Ireland, gets underway in the regions.

To gather data, a low-flying plane equipped with state-of-the-art technology will traverse the skies into the autumn months (weather permitting). The aircraft, a white twin propeller plane bearing the registration number C-GSGF, will be based at Sligo airport and survey rural areas at a height of 60m – approximately eight times the height of a standard two storey house, as approved by the Irish Aviation Authority.

Dr James Hodgson, Geophysics Programme Manager for Tellus, said:

“Tellus is an important and exciting project which is helping to unearth significant geological information about Ireland. Eastern Donegal was previously surveyed in 2011, as part of the Tellus Border project, so we look forward to completing the airborne data set for the region with upcoming flights”.

“By late 2017, we expect to have surveyed 50% of Ireland – with the resulting information helping us to better understand the local environment, soil management and natural resource potential for Donegal. We would also like to thank the local community for their continued support with survey activity”.

Tellus is led by Geological Survey Ireland and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE).

For more information on Tellus, including weekly flight plans, please visit www.tellus.ie. If you have any concerns about sensitive livestock, please call the Tellus Freephone Information Line on 1800

New Tellus Data Confirms Radon Hot Spots in Galway

The latest findings from the award-winning Tellus Programme shed new light on radon risk impacting on the West of Ireland as well as unravelling the region’s ancient, geological history.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas with no colour, taste or smell which can increase the risk of developing lung cancer. Outdoors, radon quickly dilutes to harmless concentrations but the gas can accumulate to unacceptably high concentrations within an enclosed space, including a house, if not detected.

The new geophysical data is particularly relevant to east Galway, long recognised as a radon hotspot. It reveals extensive areas of fractured limestone, which can be exploited by naturally occurring radon gas leading to large radon accumulations within the overlying soil that can pose a threat to health. Using the data, the Tellus Programme is working alongside the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to further improve understanding of the distribution of radon gas to update maps and guidance for communities, planners/builders and house owners across the region and wider country.

The Tellus data, which was collected last summer (2016) using the latest technology on-board a distinctive low flying airplane, also reveals significant information on the magnetic and electromagnetic properties of the underground rocks, soils and waters of south Mayo and Galway. The additional datasets provide new insights into the ancient and complex rocks of Connemara including faults, folded rock formations and areas of previously undiscovered buried granite. This information is vital for improving the Geological Survey’s maps, which will be used to better understand the physical and chemical properties of the soil, rocks and water of Ireland.
Minister of State for Natural Resources, Sean Kyne, TD, welcomed the data from the Tellus Programme;

“The data released from the Tellus programme goes a long way to help our understanding of the rocks and soils in this area. This data confirms the EPA’s message that parts of Galway are at high risk from radon. Up to two hundred and fifty cases of radon-related lung cancer are diagnosed in Ireland each year. The detailed data about the radon distribution in this area is a significant output from Tellus and will help better identify areas that are naturally more prone to this easily prevented risk. More information on the risks of radon exposure, including advice on how to prevent and reduce radon levels in homes and buildings can be found on the EPA’s website www.radon.ie.”

The Minister also stated;

“Data from these airborne surveys and the ground sampling surveys feed into a wide range of projects that are of value to the local communities, from farmers to home owners. “

As well as enhancing understanding of naturally occurring radioactive elements such as radon, the data from the airborne geophysics and complimentary ground-based geochemistry survey of soils and streams are of use across a wide range of applications including agricultural, mineral prospectively, and environmental management. They will also be used to update the Geological Survey’s national maps of rocks and soils.

Managed by Geological Survey, Ireland and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Tellus Programme aims to have surveyed 50 % of the country by the end of the year. The next phase of airborne surveying will cover north Mayo and western Donegal, with the Tellus airplane set to take off from early March.

The latest information on the survey along with all datasets from previous phases is freely available at www.tellus.ie

Current maps outlining High Radon Areas and guidelines to having your house assessed for radon can be found at www.radon.ie

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.