SEGH Articles

Tellus Border: Initial findings of a geo-environmental survey of the border region of Ireland

01 March 2013
The Tellus Border project is an EU INTERREG IVA-funded mapping project that involved baseline geochemical and geophysical surveys in the border region of Ireland, and the integration of data from these with existing data collected in Northern Ireland.

The Tellus Border project is an EU INTERREG IVA-funded mapping project that involves baseline geochemical and geophysical surveys in the border region of Ireland, and the integration of data from these with existing data collected in Northern Ireland. The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), Queen’s University Belfast and Dundalk Institute of Technology are partners in the cross-border initiative, which is led by the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland.

After the successful completion of an airborne geophysical survey and a multi-element geochemical survey in summer 2012, the three-year project is now in a data interpretation and mapping phase.  As part of the geochemical survey, over 21,000 samples of soil, stream water, sediment and vegetation were collected over an area spanning 12,300 km2 at an average density of 1 site per 4 km2.  Stream sediment, water and topsoil samples have now been analysed for a range of inorganic elements. The data will be of assistance to the agricultural sector in the assessment of soil trace elements, to environmental managers in the assessment of potentially harmful elements in the environment and to the mineral exploration community. Geochemical data will be released free-of-charge via www.tellusborder.eu in the months ahead; regional geochemical and geophysical maps are currently available to view online.

Flying nearly 60,000 line kilometers, the airborne survey aircraft collected data from three on-board instruments (magnetometer, electromagnetic system and gamma ray detector) while flying at a low altitude of 60m above ground level. The data is already being used for the improvement of geological mapping, the assessment of radon hazard, detection of landfill pollution plumes and the identification of areas for deep geothermal potential. The airborne survey data has revealed extraordinary new detail to regional geological features which extend throughout the border region. New understanding of subsurface structures such as faults and igneous dykes is already helping to improve and update the Geological Survey of Ireland’s existing geological maps, which support sustainable planning countrywide.

A conference will be held in October 2013 to present the full findings from the survey and accompanying academic research projects. To register for notifications for upcoming data releases, please email your details to tellusborder@gsi.ie.

 

Mairead Glennon, Kate Knights (kate.knights@gsi.ie) and Ray Scanlon, Geological Survey of Ireland, Dublin.

27th February 2013

 

Keep up to date

Submit Content

Members can keep in touch with their colleagues through short news and events articles of interest to the SEGH community.

Science in the News

Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Study of the interactions of dissolved organic matter with zinc ion and the impact of competitive metal ions (Ca 2+ and Mg 2+ ) by in situ absorbance 2017-06-22

    Abstract

    The bioavailability and toxicity of zinc to aquatic life depend on dissolved organic matter (DOM), such as Suwannee River Fulvic Acid (SRFA), which plays an important role in the speciation of zinc. This study examined reactions of SRFA with zinc at different concentrations from pH 3.0 to 9.0, and competitive binding of calcium/magnesium and zinc to SRFA at pH 6.0, using in situ absorbance. Interactions of Zn2+ with SRFA chromophores were evidenced by the emergence of features in Zn-differential spectra. Among all Zn2+–SRFA systems, dominant peaks, located at 235, 275 and 385 nm, and the highest intensity at 235 nm indicated the replacement of protons by the bound Zn2+. The Zn2+ binding with SRFA could be quantified by calculating the changes of the slopes of Zn-differential log-transformed absorbance in the wavelength range of 350–400 nm (denoted as DS350–400) and by comparing the experimental data with predictions using the Non-Ideal Competitive Adsorption (NICA–Donnan) model. DS350–400 was correlated well with the bound Zn2+ concentrations predicted by NICA–Donnan model with or without Ca2+ or Mg2+. Ca2+ and Mg2+ only affect intensity of the Zn-differential and Zn-differential log-transformed absorbance, not shape. In situ absorbance can be used to gain further information about Men+–DOM interactions in the presence of various metals.

  • Blood concentrations of lead, cadmium, mercury and their association with biomarkers of DNA oxidative damage in preschool children living in an e-waste recycling area 2017-06-16

    Abstract

    Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced DNA damage occurs in heavy metal exposure, but the simultaneous effect on DNA repair is unknown. We investigated the influence of co-exposure of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), and mercury (Hg) on 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and human repair enzyme 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase (hOGG1) mRNA levels in exposed children to evaluate the imbalance of DNA damage and repair. Children within the age range of 3–6 years from a primitive electronic waste (e-waste) recycling town were chosen as participants to represent a heavy metal-exposed population. 8-OHdG in the children’s urine was assessed for heavy metal-induced oxidative effects, and the hOGG1 mRNA level in their blood represented the DNA repair ability of the children. Among the children surveyed, 88.14% (104/118) had a blood Pb level >5 μg/dL, 22.03% (26/118) had a blood Cd level >1 μg/dL, and 62.11% (59/95) had a blood Hg level >10 μg/dL. Having an e-waste workshop near the house was a risk factor contributing to high blood Pb (r s  = 0.273, p < 0.01), while Cd and Hg exposure could have come from other contaminant sources. Preschool children of fathers who had a college or university education had significantly lower 8-OHdG levels (median 242.76 ng/g creatinine, range 154.62–407.79 ng/g creatinine) than did children of fathers who had less education (p = 0.035). However, we did not observe a significant difference in the mRNA expression levels of hOGG1 between the different variables. Compared with children having low lead exposure (quartile 1), the children with high Pb exposure (quartiles 2, 3, and 4) had significantly higher 8-OHdG levels (β Q2 = 0.362, 95% CI 0.111–0.542; β Q3 = 0.347, 95% CI 0.103–0.531; β Q4 = 0.314, 95% CI 0.087–0.557). Associations between blood Hg levels and 8-OHdG were less apparent. Compared with low levels of blood Hg (quartile 1), elevated blood Hg levels (quartile 2) were associated with higher 8-OHdG levels (β Q2 = 0.236, 95% CI 0.039–0.406). Compared with children having low lead exposure (quartile 1), the children with high Pb exposure (quartiles 2, 3, and 4) had significantly higher 8-OHdG levels.

  • Effect of biosolid hydrochar on toxicity to earthworms and brine shrimp 2017-06-15

    Abstract

    The hydrothermal carbonization of sewage sludge has been studied as an alternative technique for the conversion of sewage sludge into value-added products, such as soil amendments. We tested the toxicity of biosolid hydrochar (Sewchar) to earthworms. Additionally, the toxicity of Sewchar process water filtrate with and without pH adjustment was assessed, using brine shrimps as a model organism. For a Sewchar application of 40 Mg ha−1, the earthworms significantly preferred the side of the vessel with the reference soil (control) over side of the vessel with the Sewchar treatments. There was no acute toxicity of Sewchar to earthworms within the studied concentration range (up to 80 Mg ha−1). Regarding the Sewchar process water filtrate, the median lethal concentration (LC50) to the shrimps was 8.1% for the treatments in which the pH was not adjusted and 54.8% for the treatments in which the pH was adjusted to 8.5. The lethality to the shrimps significantly increased as the amount of Sewchar process water filtrate increased. In the future, specific toxic substances in Sewchar and its process water filtrate, as well as their interactions with soil properties and their impacts on organisms, should be elucidated. Additionally, it should be identified whether the amount of the toxic compounds satisfies the corresponding legal requirements for the safe application of Sewchar and its process water filtrate.