Tellus Border Update
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Tellus Border Update
Mairéad Glennon - Assistant Project Manager Tellus Border Project


The Tellus Border project is an EU INTERREG IVA-funded geoenvironmental mapping project. It has mapped the border counties of Ireland (Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth) and is integrating these with existing data collected in Northern Ireland as part of the Tellus project in 2007. The Geological Survey of Ireland is a partner in this cross-border initiative, which is led by the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland in Belfast. The outputs of this three-year project were presented to 134 delegates at the Tellus Border Results and Research Conference held at the Hillgrove Hotel, Co. Monaghan on 24th October 2013. Launch of Gold map
Minister for Natural Resources Fergus O’ Dowd joins geologist Kate Knights to launch the new gold map resulting from the Tellus Border survey at the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology Exhibition.

Through coupled airborne geophysical and ground-based geochemical surveys, a region covering over 12,000km2 in the Rep. of Ireland border region has been physically and chemically mapped to support environmental management and natural resources assessment. Along with the results from the surveys, findings from 13 applied research projects based on Tellus and Tellus Border data were revealed. These findings indicated new and innovative uses for the data in environmental management, mineral exploration and agricultural productivity. Presentations and research posters are available at

One of the most eagerly awaited outputs of the project was the border region’s most comprehensive map of gold in stream sediments to date, generated from over 3,500 samples taken in 2011 and 2012. Results are extremely promising, indicating localised anomalies throughout the region and more notably high concentrations in several areas. As well as highlighting known existing gold occurrences, such as Clontibret in Co. Monaghan and Glentogher and Glencolumbkille in Co Donegal, a number of new areas with anomalous gold concentrations have been identified associated with the Donegal Granites and Dalradian lithologies (Inishowen, Termon) and with Silurian/Ordovician shales and sandstones in Cos. Monaghan (Carrickmacross) and Cavan (Kingscourt, Killashandra).

Results are expected to stimulate considerable mineral exploration industry interest and investment in the area. As a consequence of the original Tellus project in Northern Ireland, it is estimated that £32m has been stimulated in inward investment to the Northern Irish economy through mineral prospecting activity. In addition to the gold data, maps for over 50 elements in soil, stream water and stream sediment geochemical data were published in October. The trace-level results reveal important natural and man-made influences on the soil and water chemistry of the area, significant for managing the environment and optimising agricultural productivity on a cross-border basis. Geochemical and geophysical maps are now available, free of charge, at

Gold map

Over the past three years duration of Tellus Border considerable demand and momentum has been built up to continue the work throughout the island of Ireland. The Director of Geological Survey of Ireland, Koen Verbruggen, was pleased to announce at the conference that Tellus will continue as a programme area in the GSI during 2014 following the completion of the EU-funded border region project in December this year. The team will focus next year on continuing research on the border region data and planning future phases of surveying.