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

SEGH Events

SEGH 2015 31st International Conference

Bratislava

22 June 2015

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

  • Occurrence and hydrogeochemical characteristics of high-fluoride groundwater in Xiji County, southern part of Ningxia Province, China 2015-05-20

    Abstract

    High-F groundwater is widely distributed in Xiji County, which endangers the safety of drinking water. In order to evaluate the key factors controlling the origin and geochemical mechanisms of F enrichment in groundwater at Xiji County, one hundred and five groundwater samples and sixty-two sediment samples were collected. Fluoride concentration in the groundwater samples ranged from 0.2 to 3.01 mg/L (mean 1.13 mg/L), with 17 % exceeding the WHO drinking water guideline value of 1.5 mg/L and 48 % exceeding the Chinese drinking water guideline value of 1.0 mg/L. High-F groundwaters were characterized by hydrochemical types of Na–HCO3 and Na–SO4·Cl, which were found in Quaternary sediment aquifer and in Tertiary clastic aquifer, respectively. Conditions favorable for F enrichment in groundwater included weakly alkaline pH (7.2–8.9), low concentration of Ca2+, and high concentrations of HCO3 and Na+. Calcite and fluorite were the main minerals controlling F concentration in groundwaters. The hydrolysis of F-bearing minerals in aquifer sediments was the more important process for F release in Tertiary clastic aquifer, which was facilitated by long residence time of groundwater, in comparison with Quaternary sediment aquifer. Cation exchange would also play important roles, which removed Ca2+ and Mg2+ and led to more free mobility of F in groundwater and permitted dissolution of fluorite, especially in Tertiary clastic aquifer. However, evapotranspiration and competing adsorption of B and HCO3 were the more important processes for F enrichment in Quaternary groundwater. Groundwater in Lower Cretaceous aquifer had relatively low F concentration, which was considered to be the potential drinking water resource.

  • Impact of biochar produced from post-harvest residue on the adsorption behavior of diesel oil on loess soil 2015-05-17

    Abstract

    The primary objective of this study was to investigate the effect of biochar, produced from wheat residue at different temperatures, on the adsorption of diesel oil by loess soil. Kinetic and equilibrium data were processed to understand the adsorption mechanism of diesel by biochar-affected loess soil; dynamic and thermodynamic adsorption experiments were conducted to characterize this adsorption. The surface features and chemical structure of biochar, modified at varying pyrolytic temperatures, were investigated using surface scanning electron microscopy and Fourier transform infrared analysis. The kinetic data showed that the adsorption of diesel oil onto loess soil could be described by a pseudo-second-order kinetic model, with the rate-controlling step being intraparticle diffusion. However, in the presence of biochar, boundary layer control and intraparticle diffusion were both involved in the adsorption. Besides, the adsorption equilibrium data were well described by the Freundlich isothermal model. The saturated adsorption capacity weakened as temperature increased, suggesting a spontaneous exothermic process. Thermodynamic parameter analysis showed that adsorption was mainly a physical process and was enhanced by chemical adsorption. The adsorption capacity of loess soil for diesel oil was weakened with increasing pH. The biochar produced by pyrolytic wheat residue increased the adsorption behavior of petroleum pollutants in loess soil.

  • Bioaccessibility of heavy metals in soils cannot be predicted by a single model in two adjacent areas 2015-05-16

    Abstract

    The objective of this study was to examine whether a single model could be used to predict the bioaccessibility of heavy metals in soils in two adjacent areas and to determine the feasibility of using existing data sets of total metal concentrations and soil property parameters (e.g., pH, total organic carbon, and soil texture) when predicting heavy metal bioaccessibility. A total of 103 topsoil samples were collected from two adjacent areas (Baotou and Bayan Obo). A total of 76 samples were collected from Baotou, and 27 were collected from Bayan Obo. The total and bioaccessible concentrations of arsenic (As), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) were measured following complete composite acid digestion and a simple bioaccessibility extraction test. The average total concentrations of As, Cu, Pb, and Zn were 8.95, 27.53, 28.40, and 79.50 mg/kg, respectively, in Baotou and 18.12, 30.75, 38.09, and 87.62 mg/kg in Bayan Obo. Except for As, these values were similar in both areas. The average bioaccessible heavy metal concentrations (Bio-HMs) for each target HM were also similar. In Baotou, the average Bio-HM values for As, Cu, Pb, and Zn were 1.16, 3.76, 16.31, and 16.10 mg/kg, respectively, and 1.26, 2.51, 14.31, and 8.68 mg/kg in Bayan Obo. However, the relative bioaccessibilities for each HM in Baotou were greater than those in Bayan Obo, with mean values for Pb, Zn, Cu, and As of 57, 20, 17, and 12 %, respectively, in Baotou and 40, 11, 9, and 8 % in Bayan Obo. In both areas, prediction models were successfully created using heavy metal concentrations and soil physicochemical parameters; however, models of the same target element differed between the areas, which indicated that a common model for both sites does not exist. Bio-HMs were highly affected by soil properties, which were found to differ between the adjacent areas. In addition, soil properties with large variations played major roles in the predictive models. This study highlights the importance of incorporating physical and chemical parameters that vary greatly when building predictive models of heavy metal bioaccessibility in soil. A similarity in soil properties between areas might be a prerequisite for the creation of a common predictive model for soil Bio-HMs.