Unearthed: Impacts of the Tellus surveys of the north of Ireland showcases outputs from ‘the most significant geoscience project ever conducted across the island of Ireland’. 

Published by the Royal Irish Academy and produced in partnership with the Geological Survey of Ireland; the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland and the British Geological Survey, the book presents findings from the first two stages of Tellus: Tellus Border and the Tellus survey of Northern Ireland – the largest collaborative cross-border programme of geoscience surveys on the island of Ireland to date.

Named after the Roman Goddess of Earth, Tellus, the survey seeks to map and understand the qualities of the island of Ireland’s terrain holistically (soil, stream water, stream sediment and rock). 

How geoscience data helps to identify prospects for mineral exploration, is explained, stimulating inward exploration investment while assessing and managing environmental impacts from historical naturally occurring radioactivity as an opportunity for geothermal energy, alongside public health risk posed by radon.

Also at a time of increasing agricultural productivity competing with the need to protect the water environment, Tellus data outlined in the publication helps inform ‘smart agriculture’ to balance both objectives.

Speaking at the launch, Sean Kyne, Minister for Natural Resources, said the publication showcased the value of “state-of-the-art geoscience data” to Ireland’s economy and society.

Acknowledging that Tellus was the outcome of more than a decade of cross-border collaboration, Koen Verbruggen, Director of the GSI noted that following the completion of this EU-funded project, the GSI planned to extend the survey nationwide.

“This project looks back on key impacts of the Tellus Border and Northern Ireland Tellus survey and explores how similar benefits will be realised nationwide in future.”

Congratulating the agencies for their “world class work” Professor Mary Daly, RIA president, said the publication set a benchmark for all-island collaboration.

Under the direction of the GSI, Tellus aims to complete surveying 50% of the country by end 2017. The airborne survey is currently active over Co Galway and a geochemical team is collecting soil samples in Co Mayo.

 Available online at