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Tellus Embarks on Seventh Year of National Survey: First Flight Takes off over counties Limerick, Tipperary and Cork.


9th August 2018


The Tellus Survey – a nationwide programme of the Geological Survey Ireland, which collects geochemical and geophysical data on rocks, soil and water across Ireland – has officially embarked on its seventh year as its survey plane takes off this year over counties Limerick, Tipperary and Cork.


To collect this data, an aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art geophysical technology will be flying the skies at low heights over Counties Limerick, north Tipperary and west Cork from July until the end of 2018 (weather permitting). The aircraft is a white, twin propeller plane, which is easily identified by its red tail and black stripe as well as the word 'SURVEY' and registration number C-GSGF written across both sides of the plane. Based at Kerry airport, the plane will be flying at 60 metres over rural areas – about eight times the height of a two storey house – and 240 metres over urban areas over the next few months, as approved by the Irish Aviation Authority. The aircraft is able to sense geological properties not apparent from conventional mapping techniques, effectively 'seeing through' Ireland's often deep glacial deposits and extensive peat and soil cover.


The data collected from the Tellus Survey is helping to sustainably manage the environment, natural resources and protect public health in the future. Previous phases of Tellus have provided new data to improve radon risk mapping, assisted local exploration for mineral resources, enabled new third-level research on environmental pollution, agricultural productivity and peat and wetlands which helps provide a comprehensive picture of the environment within Ireland. Data collected throughout the Tellus project is made publically and freely available to all on the Tellus website (


Minister for Natural Resources, Seán Kyne TD, commented:

"I am pleased to see the latest phase of the Tellus airborne survey take-off and continue the steady progress over the last few years. I look forward to viewing the results and how the data collected can be utilized to the benefit of the mineral, agricultural and environmental sectors".


Dr James Hodgson, Senior Geologist and Project Manager for Tellus, explains:

"The Tellus Survey is an important and exciting project which keeps providing us with significant information about the geological composition of Ireland. This latest airborne phase builds on the work done up until now and is the first step towards 'mapping' 75% of Ireland by 2020. The survey will bring new insights into the geology of the region in particular the significant mineral resources and agricultural properties across the west and southwest. This is shown in the support and part-funding for the survey by two separate exploration companies Group Eleven Resources Ltd and First Quantum Mineral Ltd. We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to the local communities for their continued support and understanding during the survey activity."

If you have any concerns about sensitive livestock, please call the Tellus Freephone Information Line on 1800 45 55 65.




Notes for Editors

• Geological Survey Ireland is Ireland's National Earth Science Agency. It is responsible for providing geological advice and information, and for the acquisition of data for this purpose. GSI produces a range of products including maps, reports and databases and acts as a knowledge centre and project partner in all aspects of Irish geology. GSI is a division of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) (

• The airborne survey is operated by Sander Geophysics Ltd., a Canada-based geophysical survey company, on behalf of GSI.

• The aircraft carries a range of instruments on board for navigation purposes and to measure geophysical properties of the ground. The navigation instruments include: i) a satellite navigation system; ii) a radar altimeter for measuring altitude; iii) a video camera to record where the plane is flown – video footage will not be used for anything else. The geophysical instruments on board the plane are: i) a magnetometer which measures the variations in the Earth's magnetic field; ii) a gamma ray detector which measures the natural radioactivity of shallow soil and rocks; iii) a frequency-domain electromagnetic (EM) system which measures variations in conductivity between different soils and rocks. All instruments are safe and do not emit any radiation.

• Group Eleven Resources Ltd is an Irish based mineral exploration company which holds prospecting licences in Ireland including within counties Limerick and Tipperary, targeting economic deposits of lead and zinc. More information from

• First Quantum Minerals Ltd are an international mineral exploration company which hold prospecting licences in county Cork targeting economic deposits of copper. More information from

• 'Tellus' was the Roman goddess of the earth, also called Terra Mater.

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