The main concentration of the Irish National Seabed Survey was deep water mapping - surveying commenced at the outer margins of Ireland's territorial seabed, moving ever closer shoreward as time went by. Now there is a successor to INSS which concentrates on nearshore surveys - INFOMAR: INtegrated mapping FOr the sustainable development of Ireland's MArine Resource.
The image below shows the coverage achieved to date and areas that remain unmapped after the INSS programme. Perhaps the most crucially important body of work now looms - the mapping of the commercially valuable inshore areas.
An extensive stakeholder process has been ongoing since 2002 to identify inshore priority areas for mapping. This has resulted in the identification of 26 priority bays and three coastal areas as shown on the map below. In 2006 INFOMAR began to map these areas starting with Dingle Bay, the Kenmare River approach, Bantry Bay, Dunmanus Bay, South Galway Bay and adjoining offshore areas.
A specially dedicated website www.gsiseabed.ie tells the story of the INSS whilst a seperate website www.infomar.ie follows the INFOMAR story. in the meantime however please click here for some additional information on INFOMAR.
In June 2007 GSI launched a new Seabed Maps viewer, accessible here.
Also in June 2007 GSI launched a site from which INFOMAR offshore & GSI onshore digital data can be downloaded. For more information see news release 1 June 2007. To access the Interactive Web Data Delivery System (IWDDS), Click here.
A lecture to Engineers Ireland in February 2007, outlining the origin and work of the INFOMAR Programme, is available as a webcast at the link
New Marine Features Discovered off Kerry Coast.
Two new submarine features were discovered off the coast of Kerry during the 2007 mapping season. One a deep linear trough represents a major geological fault zone, while the other a moraine, or ridge of glacial material, possibly represents the the extent of glacial coverage during the last ice age. Both features are important scientific discoveries.
The Trough, over 40km long, 400m wide, with c.30m of relief on its margins and located just a few km off the coast. It is the "surface" expression of a major fault which would have given the Kerry coastline its distinctive shape. It separates Devonian age sandstone rocks (350My old) from Carboniferous Limestone rocks (300m yrs old) and is likely to have last moved at the time the Kerry Mountains were created about 300 Million years ago.
The Morraine feature, is situated 30km NW of the Dingle peninsula, over 15km long, almost 1km wide but only 5m high. It indicates the extent of glaciation, ie where the ice stopped, several thousand years ago. Understanding how the glaciers behaved then, helps us predict how the ice may melt now due to climate change. For more information see here.