Project News

2009 News

Further indications of gold potential of Northern Ireland

15 December 2009
The gold potential of Northern Ireland is featured in a new publication this month by Paul Lusty and colleagues at GSNI and BGS. Entitled ‘Gold potential of the Dalradian rocks of north-west Northern Ireland: prospectivity analysis using Tellus data’ the paper describes a statistical approach to assessing mineral prospectivity, based on assessment of relevant geological, geophysical and geochemical attributes. Several new zones with positive prospectivity were identified.

The citation is: Lusty, P.A.J.; Gunn, A.G.; McDonnell, P.M.; Chacksfield, B.C.; Cooper, M.R.; Earls, G.. 2009 Gold potential of the Dalradian rocks of north-west Northern Ireland : prospectivity analysis using Tellus data. Transactions of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy Section B Applied Earth Science, 118 (3). 162-177

Link: Gold potential of the Dalradian rocks of north-west Northern Ireland: prospectivity analysis using Tellus data

Tellus at GeoDATA 2009

18 November 2009
Alex Donald of GSNI was an invited speaker at the GeoDATA 2009 conference in Belfast, which was themed on the topic of ‘Data Sharing’. Alex spoke about GSNI’s current strategy on data delivery, including the imminent launches of GSNI’s GeoIndex and GeoRecords web-based delivery processes and the new 3D visualisation facility at Colby House.

Stream water chemical anomalies in Co. Londonderry

30 September 2009
In 1996 GSNI recorded high levels of chromium, nickel, copper and zinc in streams around Limavady. To check if these levels still persist, Orla Gallagher of Queen’s University Belfast has re-sampled these streams as part of her MEnv studies. Orla’s thesis shows that levels now comply with Environmental Quality Standards although they remain generally elevated. High chromium values relate to naturally high levels in the nearby Antrim basalts. Elevated levels of the other elements might be man-made or relate to mineralisation in the local Dalradian meta-sediments.

Tellus at William Smith Conference, Geological Society

21/22 September 2009
Two Tellus papers were delivered at the annual William Smith Conference of the Geological Society of London, themed on ‘Environment, geology and human health’. Cathy Scheib of BGS presented the new map of caesium-137 fallout across Northern Ireland, which shows the extent of deposition remaining from the 1986 Chernobyl accident. Amy Barsby, a PhD student at Queen’s University, Belfast, outlined progress in her assessment of correlations between Tellus soil geochemistry and disease. The Northern Ireland Cancer Registry is participating in this study.

Link to presentations on the website
Link to news story on Amy Barsby's PhD

Tellus key-note at European geophysical conference

7 September 2009
Mike Young of GSNI delivered a key-note lecture to open the 2009 Near Surface Geophysics Annual Conference and Exhibition of the European Association for Geoscientists and Engineers, held this year at Trinity College Dublin. The Conference covered a wide range of geophysical applications in mineral exploration, environmental mapping, ground-stability monitoring, site investigation and archaeology.

Link to the First Break website

The ‘Tellus Effect’ – new publication on airborne environmental mapping

25 August 2009
Dave Beamish and Mike Young have published ‘Geophysics of Northern Ireland – the Tellus Effect’ in the August 2009 edition of First Break, a periodical of the European Association for Geoscientists and Engineers. The paper describes the application of the Tellus results in environmental mapping and mineral exploration.

Ground electrical properties for electricity supply

20th June 2009
Knowledge of shallow earth electrical resistivity is essential for planning electrical infrastructure. Sponsored by NIE, Kyle Taylor of the Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering at Queens University has completed a BSc dissertation in which he correlated Tellus airborne resistivity data with ground resistivity measurements. These results will inform the siting and planning of electrical supply sub-stations.

Soil geostatistics publication

6th June 2009
Barry Rawlins, with colleagues from BGS and Rothamsted Research has published a study on soil sampling statistics, based on Tellus geochemical sampling data: B. G. Rawlins, A. J. Scheib, R. M. Lark, T. R. Lister. Sampling and analytical plus subsampling variance components for five soil indicators observed at regional scale. European Journal of Soil Science

Link to this article on the Wiley Interscience website
Link to this article on the NORA website

Tellus at Brownfield Briefing

13th May 2009
Terry Johnston of GSNI presented a paper at the latest Brownfield Briefing conference held at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast. He described the relevant data available at GSNI, including detailed organic and inorganic chemistry data of Belfast and Londonderry and outlined the progress on the construction of a new 3D geological model of Belfast.

New exhibit at W5, Belfast

5th May 2009
GSNI contributed to the design of a new exhibit at the W5, the award-winning science and discovery centre in Belfast. Entitled 'Wind, Wings and Waves' the new exhibit focuses on Northern Ireland as seen from the air displaying a range of geological, geochemical and geophysical data as well as aerial photos and terrain models in an interactive touch screen exhibit. GSNI and Tellus previously financed an exhibit at W5 on Northern Ireland’s quarry industry.

Radioactive fall-out paper

13th-18th April
Barry Rawlins and colleagues from BGS, Stirling University and Rothamsted Research presented a paper on the Tellus map of radioactive fall-out over Northern Ireland at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly, in Vienna. The citation is: B.G. Rawlins, C. Scheib, A. N. Tyler, D. Jones, R. Webster, and M. E. Young. The spatial distribution of caesium-137 over Northern Ireland from fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Stirling University’s School of Biological and Environmental Sciences will continue ground follow-up of some of the results in the summer.

Link to PDF of this article.

Tellus magnetics to be included in pan-European map

8th April 2009
GSNI has agreed to supply Leeds based company Getech plc with the new Tellus aeromagnetics data. Getech will incorporate the data into a new map of the magnetic field over Europe. Getech’s databases and maps are widely used by the oil industry in strategic planning of exploration.

PhD award for environmental iodine studies

27th March 2009
BGS has awarded a grant for a PhD study that will extend and follow up the Tellus rural geochemistry data. The study, entitled ‘Assessing Risk Of Iodine Deficiency From Geochemical Surveys And Transfer Models’ will be undertaken at the School of Biosciences, Division of Agriculture & Environmental Science at the University of Nottingham under the supervision of Dr S D Young and colleagues. BGS supervisors will be Dr Mike Watts and Dr Louise Ander. Project summary:

Approximately 13% of the global population suffer from iodine deficiency, according to the WHO. Apart from sea fish some of the main sources of iodine in the human diet are dairy products. The availability of iodine in grassland areas is therefore of special significance to animal and human health. Recent geochemical surveys in the UK have shown considerable local variation in total soil iodine concentration. However, it has become clear that total soil iodine content is a poor indicator of deficiency in animals and in dairy products. Soils which strongly absorb and retain iodine inputs from rainfall may have relatively low iodine bioavailability to plants.

The project will improve prediction of iodine deficiency through greater understanding of iodine behaviour in soils following deposition in rainfall. The project will develop a dynamic soil-to-plant transfer model to help predict risk to grazing ruminants and to the human diet.

Geothermal exploration hots up

3rd March 2009
Sedimentary rocks of the Lough Neagh basin may contain relatively hot water at accessible depths. To explore this potential GSNI began a programme of further geophysical exploration in early March. Deep electromagnetic sounding are being undertaken by the Italian specialist company Geosystem srl and gravity surveys are being conducted by the UK contractor Terradat and Irish company Apex Geoservices.

Tellus collaboration with universities

20-22nd February 2009
Details of university research were presented in a poster at the annual Irish Geological Research Meeting held on 20 February at Trinity College, Dublin

Mapping carbon in soils

10th February 2009
Soil is one of the most important stores, or sinks, on the planet. Research into the ability of soil to absorb and retain carbon from the atmosphere is broadening worldwide. The Tellus soil survey of Northern Ireland has contributed significantly to this work, as described in the latest issue of European Journal of Soil Science. The study was undertaken by Barry Rawlins of BGS and involved colleagues from BGS, GSNI, AFBI and the National Soil Resources Institute Cranfield University. The citation is:

Rawlins, B. G., Marchant, B. P., Smyth, D., Scheib, C., Lark, R. M. & Jordan, C. 2009. Airbourne radiometrics survey data and a DTM as covariates for regional scale mapping of soil organic carbon across Northern Ireland. European Journal of Soil Science. 60: 44-54

Link to this article on the NORA website
A popular summary of the work was published in the NERC magazine, ‘Planet Earth’.

Tellus and Nigeria

19th January 2009
BGS is providing supervisory assistance to a major geochemical survey of parts of Nigeria, on behalf of the Geological Survey, with financial support from the World Bank. The work will follow the survey protocols developed by BGS and used successfully in the Tellus Project. Mike Young of GSNI travelled to Nigeria to deliver a keynote address describing the progress and value of the Tellus surveys at a World Bank sponsored workshop at Kaduna.

Is streamwater chemistry affected by atmospheric deposition?

15th January 2009
GSNI and BGS announce collaboration with Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University in researching into how atmospheric deposition affects the chemistry of headwater streams in Northern Ireland.

The Tellus streamwater dataset (and associated GIS spatial datasets) provides an opportunity to explore the linkages between water chemistry and atmospheric/watershed characteristics using automated GIS-based techniques.

A wide range of factors control river water chemistry. These include bedrock geology, stream density, average slope and the patterns of rainfall and associated deposition of acidifying pollutants. This project will use the Tellus streamwater dataset (and associated digital spatial datasets) to explore and model the linkages between water chemistry and atmospheric/catchment characteristics using automated GIS-based techniques.

Understanding the controls on river water quality and the hydrochemical functioning of rivers in Northern Ireland is important for addressing concerns of nutrient transfers through river systems. Quantifying linkages between water chemistry and atmospheric/catchment characteristics will provide insights into how future changes in land use, climate and pollutant emissions will impact river water quality.

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Last Updated: 17th July 2009