Significant geoscience project

Impacts of the Tellus surveys on Leitrim and the border

Claire McGovern

Reporter:

Claire McGovern

Impacts of the Tellus surveys  on Leitrim and the border

Today sees the launch of ‘Unearthed: Impacts of the Tellus surveys of the north of Ireland’, a book showcasing outputs from the most significant geoscience project ever conducted across the island of Ireland and which includes Leitrim.

Published by the Royal Irish Academy, and produced in partnership with the Geological Survey of Ireland, the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland and the British Geological Survey, the book presents findings from the first two stages of Tellus – Tellus Border and the Tellus survey of Northern Ireland - the largest collaborative cross-border programme of geoscience surveys on the island of Ireland to date.

 Between 2004 and 2013, €15 million of government and EU funding was invested in high-resolution, airborne geophysical and geochemical sampling surveys of Northern Ireland and the six northern counties of the Republic of Ireland. In the book, scientists who have worked with the resulting Tellus data reflect on the outputs and real impacts for the economy, the environment, energy, agriculture and ecology.

 The Tellus survey, named after the Roman goddess of the Earth, seeks to map and understand the qualities of the island of Ireland’s terrain holistically – including soil, stream water, stream sediment and rock. This includes how geoscience data helps to identify prospects for mineral exploration, stimulating inward exploration investment, whilst assessing and managing environmental impacts from historical mining activity, as detailed in the new publication. Similarly, case studies within the book highlight naturally occurring radioactivity as an opportunity for geothermal energy, alongside the public health risk posed by radon.

At a time when the need to increase agricultural productivity competes with the need to protect  the water environment, Tellus data, as detailed in this new publication, helps inform ‘smart agriculture’ which seeks to balance both objectives.