Aggregate Potential Mapping
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Aggregate Potential Mapping
Gerry Stanley - Minerals Section, GSI

Crushed Rock Aggregate Potential
Gaining access to aggregates can be problematical as there may be competing land uses within an area where aggregates exist. The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) commenced a programme of aggregate potential mapping (APM) for both sand and gravel, and crushed rock resources in Ireland in 2007.

The system for crushed rock aggregates was developed following consultation with industry and experts in the quarry sector. The mapping system is based on a system of scores applied to geological, geographic, market and social factors. Scores were applied from 1 to 10 for seven factors:

  • Rock Type Suitability (2.8)
  • Deleterious Substances (0.7)
  • Number of quarries (1.2)
  • Area (0.5)
  • Overburden thickness (2.0)
  • Elevation (0.8)
  • Markets (1.2)

The seven factors were weighted by a multiplication factor (in parentheses after the listed factors above). The final score is obtained by summing the weighted scores to give a final score ranging from 5 to 100.

The information is integrated within a Geographic Information System where geoprocessing tools were used to spatially discriminate between areas of differing aggregate potential, (see map).

Crushed Rock Aggregate Potential Map
Crushed Rock Aggregate Potential Map of Irish Republic

It must be stressed that even though an area may be designated as ‘low’ or ‘very low’ this does not mean that the area has ‘no’ potential. It may be that in a given area in the absence of better quality material a particular rock type may be the only option. Also some rocks may possess particular qualities which make them suitable for specific uses – for example a mud rock may be suitable as a source of clay for brick manufacture.

The main outputs from the project are available within a public viewer on the GSI website with attendant data interrogation tools. Please see: http://spatial.dcenr.gov.ie/APM/index.html

The work was carried out on a county-by-county basis and then joined to produce a seamless map for the entire country.

The APM project results should be of interest to the building and road construction sectors, and planning authorities at local and regional level.

Granular Aggregate Potential
Gaining access to aggregates can be problematical as there may be competing land uses within an area where aggregates exist. The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) commenced a programme of aggregate potential mapping (APM) for both sand and gravel, and crushed rock resources in Ireland in 2007.

The system for granular (sand and gravel) aggregates was developed following consultation with industry and experts in the quarry sector. The mapping system is based on a system of scores applied to geological, geographic, market and social factors. Scores were applied from 1 to 10 for seven factors:

  • Genesis-Petrology (2)
  • Number of pits (1.2)
  • Area (2)*
  • Thickness (2)*
  • Elevation (0.5)
  • Markets (1.2)

*In the case of ‘alluvium’ the factor is 1.0.

The six factors were weighted by a multiplication factor (in parentheses after the listed factors above). The final score is obtained by summing the weighted scores to give a final score ranging from 3.5 to 100.

The information is integrated within a Geographic Information System where geoprocessing tools were used to spatially discriminate between areas of differing aggregate potential, (see map).

 Granular Aggregate Potential Map
Granular Aggregate Potential Map of Irish Republic

t must be stressed that even though an area may be designated as ‘low’ or ‘very low’ this does not mean that the area has ‘no’ potential. It may be that in a given area in the absence of better quality material a particular deposit may be the only option.

Unlike the crushed rock potential map there are large tracts of ground uncoloured which indicates that no sand or gravel has been mapped in these areas.

The main outputs from the project are available within a public viewer on the GSI website with attendant data interrogation tools. Please see: http://spatial.dcenr.gov.ie/APM/index.html

The work was carried out on a county-by-county basis and then joined to produce a seamless map for the entire country.

The APM project results should be of interest to the building and road construction sectors, and planning authorities at local and regional level.


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