Tellus regional surface water geochemistry: environmental and mineral exploration applications

Posted on 10.11.2021 - 11:02
Abstract: Regional surface water geochemistry acquired as part of the Tellus programme in Ireland has been analysed to assess its potential for application to environmental assessment and mineral exploration. Interpolated geochemical maps and multivariate statistical analysis, including Principal Component Analysis and Random Forests classification, demonstrate broad geogenic control of surface water chemistry, with both bedrock and subsoil contributing to the patterns observed. Surface water regulations set Environmental Quality Standard values for individual Priority Substances and Specific Pollutants that may depend on background concentrations and / or water hardness. The high resolution of Tellus surface water data and their location on low-order streams has allowed estimation of background concentrations and water hardness in the survey area, with significant implications for water monitoring programmes. Anthropogenic inputs to surface water in the survey area come mainly from agricultural sources and Tellus data suggest few catchments are unaffected. Comparison of Tellus surface water geochemistry with stream sediment and topsoil geochemistry suggest that surface water geochemistry has strong potential for use in mineral exploration, with the same base metal and gold pathfinder anomalies apparent in all three data sets. Cluster analysis indicates that base metals in surface water are associated with organic matter but statistical analysis may be employed to distinguish mineralization-related signatures.


Gallagher, V.; Grunsky, E. C.; Fitzsimons, M. M.; Browne, M. A.; Lilburn, S.; Symons, J. (2021): Tellus regional surface water geochemistry: environmental and mineral exploration applications. Geological Society of London. Collection.
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