TELLUS: New regional geoscience mapping of the North of Ireland

IGA LECTURE Wednesday, 26th January, 2011

Speaker: Dr Mike Young (Geological Survey Northern Ireland)

VENUE: Room G01, UCD School of Geological Sciences, Belfield, Dublin 4.

TIME: 8.00pm , tea/coffee from 7.30pm


In the Tellus Project, GSNI completed the most concentrated integrated geo-science mapping of any region of the United Kingdom . The resulting geochemical and geophysical maps of Northern Ireland have been widely taken up by resources industries, government regulators and environmentalists. The geochemical data comprise analyses of soils, stream sediments and stream waters on a regular grid. New anomalies in gold and platinum group elements have been mapped and the characteristics of known gold mineralisation trends are further defined and extended. High nickel and chromium values characterise Palaeogene volcanics and elevated nickel occurs elsewhere in several locations, notably associated with Palaeogene dykes. The geophysical data were collected at a height of 55 m along flight-lines 200 m apart. Prominent magnetic anomalies correspond with intrusive complexes and Palaeogene lava sheets. The electromagnetic survey maps electrical conductivity differences between the Precambrian, Lower Palaeozoic and younger rocks. Radiometric results display significant differences in the radioactivity of different lithologies. At a local scale the imagery reveals outstanding structural detail. Research to date has focused on structural interpretation, geochemical characterisation, radioactivity, radon risk analysis, and mineral prospectivity mapping. 10 PhDs and 12 MSc/BSc projects have so far been based on these data and GSNI actively seeks further partnerships with universities. The Tellus project has shown that integrated geoscience surveys encourage economic development and stimulate research. In 2011/12 GSNI and GSI, in partnership, will extend the surveys over Counties Donegal, Sligo , Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth. This next phase of the project, ‘Tellus Border’, will include three environmental post-doc studies at Queen’s University Belfast and Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Havilland Twin Otter Aircraft on survey

Havilland Twin Otter Aircraft on survey

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