The Tellus Project.
It's about our environment. It's about sustainable development.
The Tellus project, launched on 4th November 2004, will collect scientific data on rocks and minerals across Northern Ireland. This information will help manage the environment and support sustainable natural resource development by telling us more about our soils, sediments, waters and rocks.
The Tellus Project is a country wide mapping project with two primary goals:
-To understand and contribute to the sustainable development and management of our natural resources.
-To measure and assess the environmental well-being of Northern Ireland, using modern mapping techniques.
HOW WILL THE TELLUS PROJECT AFFECT YOUR LIFE?
The Tellus Project will benefit our economy, environment, agriculture, land management and health
The project will augment and expand our geological knowledge and help us to map the locations of many of the minerals essential to modern life, such as:
· Construction materials, like limestone, sand and gravel.
· Industrial minerals.
· Salt, an essential food component and vital in winter for road de-icing.
Data from the Tellus Project may also contribute to the search for oil and gas and other naturally occurring minerals.
Water analysis carried out by the Tellus Project will allow us better to understand the quality of our water resources and identify areas of pollution. Scientists will be able to assess the quality and health of soil and water in areas where unique habitats are preserved, like heath land, bog, and fen. Pollution affects our flora, fauna and habitats, and has implications for our health, tourism and countryside recreation. Where human activities affect these habitats, we can plan their protection, maintenance and preservation
The Tellus Project will be able to identify and analyse soil for a range of elements. Some such as zinc and iron are vital to life but others are pollutants, which can enter the food chain and impact upon our health and the health of our livestock
The data produced by the Tellus Project will contribute to the understanding of many natural and man-made hazards, such as landslides, flooding, radon gas and landfills. This analysis will help to inform policy makers when making land management and planning decisions.
The Tellus Project will help to identify potential threats to our health, our plants and our animals from past industrial activity. Pollution may be in the form of:
· Heavy metals, such as arsenic, mercury, cadmium.
· Organic compounds like herbicides, pesticides, solvents.
· Petroleum products particularly waste oil, tar, and solvents.
WHO IS SPONSORING THE TELLUS PROJECT?
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment funds the Tellus Project. A team of scientists at the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland is carrying out the work. Northern Ireland will now join the list of many European countries that have benefited from this type of survey.
HOW WILL THE DATA BE ACQUIRED?
Data will be collected in two ways:
1. Ground Survey
2. Airborne Survey
Teams of scientists will collect samples of soils, waters and stream sediments. These samples will be analysed and results will be presented as maps and computer images, which can help us understand our natural resources.
A small aircraft will fly over Northern Ireland along a series of parallel lines. Instruments carried on the plane will collect data from the rocks below our feet relating to the magnetic and electrical properties of the rocks.
The ground survey will be carried out over three years from 2004 to 2006. The airborne survey will take place in the spring and summer of 2005 and 2006.