Ireland controls about 15% of European seabed area and in recent times has helped to set maritime policy at international and European levels on a wide range of issues affecting the offshore. This has partly been possible through the increased range of marine research and services supported by the Government, including the seabed surveys jointly managed by the Marine Institute and GSI.
2007 represented the second year during which extensive surveying progress was achieved on INFOMAR (Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland's Marine Resource) and the seabed surveys focused on the nearshore environment. Data acquisition was finished in the southwest (offshore Dingle), Bantry and Dunmanus Bays, while Galway Bay was 90% completed, and surveys had started off both Waterford and Cork. An area of more than 4600 sq km was surveyed during the year.
The Dingle survey produced fascinating results with a wide variety of geological features, some with implications for ecosystems. The high resolution mapping permitted geological interpretations which, for the first time in Ireland, integrated the pattern of onshore geology with that offshore where extensive areas of limestone and sandstone exposure were mapped. The elaborate detail allowed the mapping of offshore faults and folds, often with more precision than can be achieved onshore. In addition a major glacial moraine ridge over 15km long, deposited from ice sheets at a time of lower sea level, was delineated. Perhaps the most interesting feature is an east-northeasterly trending trench which follows the northern coastline of the Dingle Peninsula for 40km.
Reproduced by permission of the Controller of her Majesty’s Stationary Office
and the UK Hydrographic Office
All information produced by INFOMAR is now available free to download from a new interactive website (https://jetstream.gsi.ie/iwdds/index.html). The results of the 2007 surveys featured extensively in local media, indicating the increased appreciation by the public of their value.
Government decided to form an Inter-Departmental Committee to draft proposals for the creation of a tsunami warning system for Ireland as part of an internationally coordinated system. GSI is leading this process in coordination with Met Eireann, the Marine Institute, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and several Government Departments. International efforts in the North Atlantic are coordinated by the International Oceanographic Commission in cooperation with the World Meteorological Organisation.