Director's Discourse
Geology Matters 16

IntroductionDirector's DiscourseMapping the SeafloorHarnessing Our Ocean WealthIrish Maritime FestivalLandslide Susceptibility MappingNew Geology Map of IrelandEMODNET HydrographyCollaboration with Irish UniversitiesGeoscience Ireland

Planes, boats and drill rigs!
Koen Verbruggen

As we go to press we welcome our
new Minister for the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Alex White, T.D. and Minister of State with special responsibility for Natural Resources, Joe McHugh T.D. We look forward to working with them.

2014 is proving to be a busy year for GSI, as the previously flagged pilot projects and ongoing initiatives ratchet up for the field season. As I write we are currently involved in activity on multiple fronts, and reassuringly, more fieldwork than we have seen for some time.

Sampling till in Co. Leitrim
Xavier Pellicer (left) sampling till in Glenfarne, Co. Leitrim, using the GSI Drill Rig
in auger mode with drillers Ger Cott (centre) and Oisin O’Brien

INFOMAR , our marine mapping programme with the MI, (Marine Institute) is working towards a key target of completing Phase 1 of its acquisition schedule by 2016. This means having all 3 large offshore Priority Areas and 26 inshore Priority Bays fully mapped. So far the project is on track, and this year has seen mapping completed in Lough Swilly, Donegal Bay and Broadhaven by GSI, with mapping of Killary Harbour approaches, Galway Bay approaches, offshore Clare and Tralee Bay by the MI. However acquisition of multibeam and associated data is only the beginning of the work, and I am delighted to see an article in this newsletter, on recent work undertaken producing new geological maps of our deeper offshore from data acquired during the INSS in 2000 and 2001! It is great to see new products still emerging from this world class dataset, and in this case we are only now in a position of having the computing power, software and experience to really generate these products. The ultimate downstream outputs of INFOMAR are featured in this edition, with articles on both our participation in the Government Ocean Wealth Conference, where INFOMAR data underpins policy and public outreach activities at the Drogheda Maritime Festival.

Our newly reorganised Land Mapping Unit has been busy in the border region, following up on both Tellus Border data and our National Quaternary Map released last year. Work is ongoing in the Lough Allen Basin, compiling and revising both the bedrock geology and quaternary mapping, and our drilling team have been busy proving and disproving theories without favour! Further east we have been working with colleagues in GSNI on the Longford-Down sequence, and trying to elucidate poorly exposed sequences with the new benefit of airborne magnetic and EM data that can see through the ubiquitous cover.

In addition to this the Groundwater team have been working all over the country with the Federation of Group Water Schemes and also, again with our drill crew, in Lough Gur, Co. Limerick along with Limerick County Council.

We are now entering another phase of Landslides Susceptibility Mapping, with a team working in Donegal, Slieve Blooms and Tipperary, and an article on this project is also included in this edition.

This year we will also see the next phase of the TELLUS project, as we carry out further airborne geophysics and ground geochemistry, focussed on Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon. An article on this will appear in the next edition, but the importance of working towards national coverage of these datasets cannot be understated. The currency of a geological survey is data, and new data from new initiatives is vital for everything geoscience can contribute to.

Another new initiative worth mentioning is our recruitment of Graduate Geologists on one year contracts. GSI has had a successful Temporary Field Assistant (TFA), later Temporary Geological Assistant (TGS) programme for many years. These schemes allowed young graduates to get a taste for working as a geologist, valuable experience and helped many of them on the way to successful geo-careers. We hope to work our way back to the success of the previous schemes, commencing with 5 posts this year, as the other vital ingredient for a survey, to go with new data, is new ideas!