Project News

2010 News

Environment YES

The GSNI Team from the Environment Yes Competition

17 December 2010
A team of four from GSNI – Orla Gallagher, Claire McGinn, Paul Wilson and Melanie Wrigley – came second in the NERC Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES) competition. Having won their heat in Edinburgh they competed against three other teams in the final held at County Hall, London. The competition required the team to participate in a Dragons’ Den style pitch to a panel of investors, seeking investment in their hypothetical company and product. The team, ‘Tellus Technologies’, presented a business case for their product WellSite, a device for improving the success rate of groundwater exploration by increasing the success rate of water well drilling.

Melanie Wrigley, was awarded the prize for overall “Best Presenter”, beating more than 60 other competitors.

Link: Northern Ireland Executive News Story
Link: Environment YES website

Between Rocks and Hard Places

Minister Foster, Director Garth Earls and Author Paul Lyle launch the new GSNI publication Between Rocks and Hard Places

3 November 2010
GSNI’s latest book, which features Tellus data and information, was launched by David Sterling, DETI’s Permanent Secretary, at a reception held at the Ormeau Baths Gallery in Belfast. Leading figures in the environment and earth sciences sectors and the world of Belfast publishing attended the event. ‘Between Rocks and Hard Places’, illustrated with many stunning photographs of the beautiful landscapes of Northern Ireland, describes how geology has shaped landscapes and thus influenced cultural and societal developments. The book has been written for a general audience by Dr Paul Lyle, formerly Senior Lecturer at Ulster University, and is published by The Stationery Office.

Link: Between Rocks and Hard Places Website

Tellus Border

1 November 2010
The next phase of Tellus has begun! A partnership of GSNI, the Geological Survey of Ireland, Queen’s University, Belfast, and the Centre for Freshwater Studies at Dundalk Institute of Technology has been awarded a grant of £4 million from the EU’s Interreg IVA programme, which funds cross-border projects that encourage economic development and improved environmental management. This new phase will extend the geochemical and airborne geophysical surveys over Counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth, integrate these new data with the existing Tellus data and facilitate integrated analysis. Three post-doc studies will be undertaken into matters of environmental interest in the border area: evaluation of peat and soil-carbon, eco-hydrology of wetlands and the detection and mapping of pollution plumes. The project will run until Dec 2013.

Link: SEUPB Website

Tellus at BGS-175

28 September 2010
The British Geological Survey celebrated its 175th birthday with a one-day Science Symposium at the Royal Institution in London. The symposium showcased BGS’s world-class science, demonstrating its relevance, societal benefits and positive impacts in addressing 21st century environmental and resources challenges. GSNI’s Director, Garth Earls, presented a lecture on ‘Liaisons with North America’, which described how the Tellus airborne geophysical survey has shown that structures in Northern Ireland that formed before the opening of the Atlantic Ocean extend to those mapped in Newfoundland, in a link which has particular relevance for mineral exploration.

Link: BGS 175 Website

3rd GSNI exhibit at W5

Garth Earls and Sally Montgomery launch the new exhibit at W5

GSNI and BGS contributed to the design of third geoscience exhibit at the W5, the award-winning science and discovery centre in Belfast. Entitled 'Earthquake', the new exhibit features a working seismometer that continually records and displays earth vibrations. This is one of a series of demonstration seismometers installed across Northern Ireland through the BGS’s Schools Seismometer Project. Other GSNI/Tellus exhibits at W5 are on Northern Ireland’s quarry industry and on Tellus geophysical/geochemical data. See also 1 June 2010, below.

Link: W5 online
Link: BGS School Seismology Website

Geochemistry and health – new research from Northern Ireland

3 July 2010
Several presentations based on Tellus data were made at the annual conference of the Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health, which took place in Galway at the end of June. GSNI and BGS, and associated PhD students, presented their results on a wide range of topics:

  • Estimation of potentially harmful ambient background concentrations in surface soil in Northern Ireland (J. D. Appleton and C. McGinn)
  • Application of Tellus airborne radiometric and soil chemical data for radon mapping in Northern Ireland (J. D. Appleton et al.)
  • Soil geochemistry and cancer in Northern Ireland? (A. Barsby)
  • Regional Geochemistry of Northern Ireland: Environmental and Health Implications (N. Breward et al.)
  • Hydrochemical anomalies of the Roe Valley catchment, Northern Ireland (O. Gallagher et al.)
  • The improvement of peat depths models for Northern Ireland through the analysis of Tellus data (M. Robinson et al.)
  • Understanding bioavailability of iodine in soils of Northern Ireland (H. E. Smith et al.)

Revising the geological map of County Down and County Armagh

27 June 2010
Electrical conductivity maps of south-eastern Northern Ireland resulting from the Tellus survey mapped pronounced anomalies arising from carbonaceous shale beds. The ability of the method to detect and map these rocks beneath the overlying glacial cover has enabled a comprehensive revision of the geological map of southwest County Down and part of County Armagh. This work has now been published and the citation is:

Beamish, D.; Kimbell, G.S.; Stone, P.; Anderson, T.B. 2010 Regional conductivity data used to reassess Early Palaeozoic structure in the Northern Ireland sector of the Southern Uplands-Down-Longford terrane. Journal of the Geological Society, 167 (4). 649-657.


‘All Shook Up’ – Earthquakes in Co. Fermanagh

The exhibit at the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

1 June 2010
GSNI and BGS have designed and installed a new display at the visitor centre at the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, County Fermanagh. The display, entitled ‘All Shook Up’ was unveiled by DETI Minister and local Assembly Member, Ms Arlene Foster MLA on 1 June. The centrepiece is a working seismometer, part of the Schools Seismometer Network managed by BGS. The display describes the origins and distribution of earthquakes and illustrates how ancient earth movements in Northern Ireland are visible in Tellus magnetic data. Marble Arch Caves is the first Irish Geopark in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network.

Link: Marble Arch Caves website
Link: DETI News Story
Link: BGS School Seismology Website

Minister opens new 3D visualisation centre

26 May 2010
DETI Minister Ms Arlene Foster MLA opened GSNI’s new 3D visualisation suite on 26 May. This innovative and versatile facility enables any spatial data to be viewed, interrogated and modelled in three dimensions. Images are underlain on high resolution digital terrain models (DTM) from recent aerial photography or LIDAR surveys, on which are superimposed geological, geophysical or geochemical data. The technology, known as GeoVisionary, has been developed jointly by Virtalis Group and BGS. The facility may also be used for viewing engineering or architectural models. GSNI has held a series of demonstrations to government and industry and already the facility is being widely used by a range of interests. Further inquiries are welcome.

Free user information on domestic geothermal energy resources

18 April 2010
GSNI with Action Renewables has launched a free interactive website for designers of ground-source heat pumps in Northern Ireland. Users insert a postcode and the site quickly produces a simple report on the shallow geology and temperature conditions at the location.

Link: Geothermal Report website

Tellus at PDAC in Toronto

9 March 2010
GSNI Director Garth Earls delivered an invited lecture at the Prospectors and Developers Annual Convention in Toronto on 9 March. The convention, the largest of its kind, attracted a record 21,600 registrants. Garth displayed new Tellus results and findings in his talk entitled: ‘Airborne geophysics and mineral exploration in Northern Ireland’. The talk encouraged further interest in prospecting in Northern Ireland, where Canadian mining companies are already investing in mineral exploration.

Two new Tellus-based PhD projects launched

3 March 2010
Tellus caesium-137 data will be the subject of a new PhD study at Stirling University, to be supervised by Dr Andrew Tyler, Reader in Environmental Science. The project will investigate how caesium, deposited in soil after global nuclear events, can be used as a tracer of soil movement and erosion in Northern Ireland. The work will be funded jointly by Stirling, SEPA and Tellus.

In a new PhD project at Ulster University the wider Tellus soil geochemistry dataset will be used to trace the movement of ice sheets as revealed by the geochemistry of glacially-deposited soils. The work will be supervised by Dr Paul Dunlop, a specialist in mapping and modelling the glacial geomorphology of Quaternary landscapes. The project will be funded by the Department of Employment and Learning, with BGS support from the Tellus Project.

Tellus features strongly at IGRM

23 February 2010
The Irish Geological Research Meeting, held on 19-21 February at the newly refurbished Ulster Museum, was one of the best attended for many years. The programme included a session on Tellus results, illustrating the great range of their current application:

  • Ordovician arc-continent collision within Northern Ireland: new constraints from the Tyrone Igneous Complex.
    Steven Hollis, S. Roberts, G. Earls, M.R. Cooper, R. Herrington, Q.G. Crowley and D. Chew
  • A reassessment of Lower Palaeozoic structure in the Northern Ireland sector of the Southern Uplands–Down-Longford terrane using airborne (Tellus) conductivity data.
    David Beamish, G. S. Kimbell, P. Stone and T. B. Anderson
  • Geometry and growth of Palaeogene strike-slip faults in Northern Ireland.
    Hugh Anderson, J.J. Walsh and M.R. Cooper
  • Microbial Cycling of Se in Northern Irish Soils Identified by the Tellus Dataset.
    Jon Fellowes, R.A.D. Pattrick, C.I. Pearce, C. Boothman and J.R. Lloyd
  • Re-appraisal of a Conceptual model for the Lagan and Enler Valley Sherwood Sandstone Aquifer - A major groundwater source for the Greater Belfast region, Northern Ireland.
    Claire Burns, U. Ofterdinger and J.C. Compte
  • Cancer and trace elements in Northern Ireland?
    Amy Barsby, Jennifer McKinley, Ulrich Ofterdinger, Mike Young and Anna Gavin

Topics of Tellus posters included water geochemistry, magnetic interpretation, spatial analysis, peat investigation and depth-to basement mapping.

Link: IGRM Abstract Volume (PDF)

Microbes in soil – a new PhD project based on Tellus soil geochemistry

8 February 2010
A new PhD project will start shortly at Manchester University, entitled ‘Microbial response to soil chemistry defined by the Tellus dataset, Northern Ireland.’ The project, supervised by Professor Richard Pattrick at Manchester and Dr Andy Tye at BGS, will examine how microbes affect, and are affected by certain elements in soil. The project will increase our understanding of the response of the different microbial populations to toxic elements, and their remediation.The project will be co-financed by the British Universities Funding Initiative at BGS.

Link: British Universities Funding Initiative

Mapping depth-to-bedrock with Tellus airborne EM data

10 January 2010
At the Mineral Deposits Study Group 33rd Annual meeting, Sarah Caven of GSNI presented a poster on ‘Mapping depth-to-bedrock and shallow aggregate resources with airborne electromagnetics’. She correlated Tellus airborne resistivity data with borehole control to illustrate the application of the airborne data in engineering investigations and mapping of aggregates deposits.

Link: Mapping depth-to-bedrock with Tellus airborne EM data in NORA.

For other news stories follow these links 2011 - 2009 - 2008

Last Updated: 8th June 2010