AN AIRBORNE geological survey of Cork has taken off, with researchers collecting geochemical and geophysical data on rocks, soil and water over the coming months.
The Tellus National Airborne Survey 2018 is taking place over the coming months, with the first flights taking place over Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Offaly.
The first flight took off yesterday, with data collections running until the end of the year, weather permitting.
To collect the data on the soil and earth composition of the region, an aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art geophysical technology will be flying the skies at low heights over west Cork, Limerick, North Tipperary, and south Offaly.
The data collected from the survey is helping to map and sustainably manage our environment and natural resources and to protect public health in the future.
Previous phases of Tellus have provided new data to improve radon risk mapping, assisted local exploration for mineral resources, enabled new third-level research on environmental pollution, agricultural productivity and peat and wetlands which helps provide a comprehensive picture of the environment within Ireland.
Data collected throughout the project is made freely available to all on the Tellus website, www.tellus.ie.
The aircraft is a white, twin-propeller plane, which is easily identified by its red tail and black stripe as well as the word ‘SURVEY’ and registration number C-GSGF written across both sides of the plane. Based at Kerry airport, the plane will be flying at 60 metres over rural areas — about eight times the height of a two storey house — and 240 metres over urban areas over the coming months, as approved by the Irish Aviation Authority.
The aircraft is able to sense geological properties not apparent from conventional mapping techniques, effectively ‘seeing through’ Ireland’s often deep glacial deposits and extensive peat and soil cover.
Dr James Hodgson, Senior Geologist and Project Manager for Tellus, said:
“The Tellus Survey is an important and exciting project which keeps providing us with significant information about the geological composition of Ireland.
“This latest airborne phase builds on the work done up until now and is the first step towards ‘mapping’ 75% of Ireland by 2020. The survey will bring new insights into the geology of the region, in particular, the significant mineral resources and agricultural properties across the west and southwest.”