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Tellus survey activity concludes for 2016 in West of Ireland

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Aerial survey of Galway, Mayo and neighbouring parts of Roscommon, Offaly and Tipperary concludes

· Ground survey activity in Mayo and west Galway ends for 2016

· Tellus team extends thanks to all for support and co-operation

· Minister Kyne welcomes conclusion of successful campaign

A major airborne geophysics survey covering counties Galway, southern Mayo and neighbouring parts of Roscommon, Offaly, Clare and Tipperary has touched down for the final time this year. Ground sampling activity across Mayo and west Galway has also concluded for 2016. It brings to an end the latest surveying by Tellus, a significant geological mapping project led by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment’s Geological Survey Ireland.

Involving the collection of geophysical data on rocks, soil and water across the region, the airborne phase was supported with a comprehensive communications campaign to ensure key stakeholders were informed of the survey and its purpose.

Throughout the summer and autumn months, the specialised twin propeller plane, operated by Sander Geophysics Ltd on behalf of the Geological Survey, traversed the skies on over 100 flights across Western Ireland.

In total, 43,141 km were flown over the four month period – a distance greater than the circumference of the Earth. Flying at a height of 60m over rural areas, the plane was a familiar sight to many local people, particularly to those involved in horse breeding and other livestock owners.

Soil and stream sampling by the Tellus geochemical ground surveying team, operated by OCAE Consultants, has also concluded for 2016. Working in pairs, the team covered a total of 5268km2 since their activity began in May of this year. Similarly supported with a robust communications campaign, almost 72,000 flyers were delivered to households in the survey area.

Minister for Natural Resources, Séan Kyne TD, commented:

“I am pleased to see the successful completion of a further phase of the Tellus aerial survey, alongside continued progress from the ground sampling team, across the West of Ireland. The data provided by the Tellus survey will assist in protecting public health, developing agricultural productivity and allowing for a greater understanding of natural resources – and I look forward to the results being presented to uncover the landscape of the region.”

Geological Survey Ireland Director, Koen Verbruggen commented:

“We have always been very focused on the potential effects of the low-flying plane, and ground sampling activity – particularly for horse and livestock owners. To minimise disruption we implemented a campaign which involved direct communication with as many organisations and individuals as possible. We extend our thanks to all who worked closely with us to spread awareness and particularly to the local stakeholders who co-operated so effectively to ensure the survey ran safely and to schedule.”

Following a period of data checking, mapped results from the airborne survey will be made freely available on the Tellus website (www.tellus.ie) from spring 2017, allowing scientists, planners, industry specialists and environmentalists to better understand and manage our natural resources.

“The Tellus Survey continues its rollout across Ireland. It is already delivering many benefits to different sectors of our society, and it offers enormous potential for the future” added Dr. Jim Hodgson, Tellus Geophysics Programme Manager.

The Tellus team has extended its gratitude to Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Weatherby’s Thoroughbred Stud Book Authority, the Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), and all other groups who helped raise awareness of the survey.

An update on Tellus and other Geological Survey Ireland programmes will be presented as part of the Geoscience2016 conference at Dublin Castle, on 2nd November 2016.

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