|Starting this week (29th September), a team of eight agricultural scientists from OCAE Consultants Ltd will work in pairs collecting soil samples using a hand auger from every 4km2 of land on behalf of the Geological Survey of Ireland. In total, 2,000 different locations over a 7,500km2 expanse of land will be visited by the team during this important ground survey phase. The soil samples will be analysed for a broad range of elements, revealing natural and man-made influences on the soil geochemistry of the area in great detail. |
The team will start in the Westport area but they will prioritise higher ground such as the Nephin Beg mountain range, and the Sheefry Hills in Mayo and the Twelve Bens in Connemara, as well as coastal areas to make the most of the autumn daylight hours.
As the survey is being carried out by the Geological Survey of Ireland (part of the Department for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources), each team member will have branded identification and their vehicles will also carry Tellus signage.
This latest phase of ground surveying is part of the wider Tellus survey which started in Northern Ireland in 2003, and has been rolling out across other regions ever since.
Working in conjunction with the on-the-ground soil sampling team is the Tellus geophysical survey which uses a low-flying aircraft equipped with the latest technology to measure the physical properties of soils and rocks. The current phase of airborne surveying is well underway over counties Offaly, Kildare, Meath, rural Dublin, northern parts of Wicklow and Laois.
The data generated from both the ground and the air surveys will be combined with that of the other areas, ultimately creating the first seamless geo-environmental map of Ireland. The data will be freely available to all online, to support the sustainable management of our environment and natural resources into the future.
Tellus Project Manager, Mairéad Glennon said: “The sampling team is on the ground in the Mayo and Galway area and fully intend to make the most of the remaining autumn daylight over the next two months”.
“The rugged mountains and coastline of the west of Ireland will be adventurous terrain for our samplers and the work undertaken by the survey team promises to unearth a rich diversity of geochemical information which will be of interest to environmental managers, mineral explorers and agronomists.”
Mairéad continued: “As part of our outreach programme we have engaged with a wide spectrum of stakeholders to ensure they are informed of the survey and its purpose. Throughout the history of the Tellus survey many farmers and landowners have shown great interest and have been highly supportive of the project. We look forward to more positive engagement as our on-the-ground team continues the Tellus roll-out across the Galway/Mayo area.”
Information on the Tellus Survey is available on http://www.tellus.ie/, via Twitter @TellusGSI or via the Freephone information line 1800 303 516.