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Unearthed: impacts of the Tellus surveys of the north of Ireland

by  Mike Young (ed.)

'Unearthed: impacts of the Tellus surveys of the north of Ireland details how this unprecedented land and air survey of hidden Ireland rewards us with a more complete understanding of the natural history of this region. It tells an epic story of how Ireland’s geological past will sustain its future'. Professor Iain Stewart MBE

Between 2004 and 2013, €15 million of government and EU funding was spent on high-resolution, airborne geophysical and geochemical sampling surveys of Northern Ireland and the six northern counties of the Republic of Ireland. This book presents some of the findings of the first two stages of Tellus, the largest collaborative cross-border programme of geoscience surveys ever undertaken on the island of Ireland.

Tellus is a concerted cross-border investment in the terrestrial geosciences, intended both to stimulate exploration for natural resources and to generate essential data for environmental management. A huge volume of geoscientific data has already been produced and analysed by researchers in Ireland, the UK and beyond. Initiated by the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, the Geological Survey of Ireland and the British Geological Survey, the project teams engaged widely with the academic community, industry, government, elected representatives, the general public and schools. Under the direction of the Geological Survey of Ireland, further phases of the Tellus programme are now steadily extending the surveys southward to cover the whole island.

In this book, scientists who have worked with the Tellus data reflect on the outputs and impacts in terms of the economy, the environment, energy, agriculture and ecology.

This book is also available on JSTOR. For more information, institutions can visit Books at JSTOR or contact

This book is also available on the Digital Repository of Ireland.

You can buy the e-book here.


'I am delighted to see today the very significant outcomes of Tellus surveying coming to fruition with the publication of this comprehensive volume of real-world scientific research. It spans several key areas including mineral exploration, agriculture and the management of the environment, showing the value of state-of-the-art geoscience data to Ireland’s economy and society'. Seán Kyne TD, Minister for Natural resources. Read the full press release here.

'At a time when the need to increase agricultural productivity competes with the need to protect  the water environment, Tellus data, as detailed in this new publication, helps inform ‘smart agriculture’ which seeks to balance both objectives'. Claire McGovern for the Leitrim Observer. Read the full review here.

' will long continue to stimulate research, be of practical value and generally fascinate'. Tony Bazley for The Geological Society. Read the full review here.

About the authors

Mike Young (ed.)

Mike Young, an exploration geophysicist, joined the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI) in 2004 to manage the first of the Tellus regional geoscience survey projects. He was Director of GSNI from 2011 to 2014, when he also served on the Geosciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy. Previously he managed national and industrial geophysical exploration projects throughout the Middle East, and in Africa and Latin America. He has published articles on geophysical exploration in arid environments, regional geoscience mapping and groundwater assessment and co-edited A Guide to the Tellus Data