Photo: Dr. Kristine Asch

Geodata about the seabed is needed to build infrastructures

When the plan is to build an offshore wind farm or build a submarine gas pipeline, it is necessary to understand the soil type and building capacity of the seabed. For example, when working on sea lanes, it is important to know whether the depth of the lane can be increased by dredging or blasting rock.

The European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) project, coordinated by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), responds to needs for information by compiling and standardising information on the soil types of seabeds in Europe and the sedimentation rates of matter descending to the seabed. The project has compiled soil type maps produced by GTK of seabeds in Europe at the scale 1:100,000 that depict the topmost seabed layer. These maps are now ready. The material offers a representative overview of the distribution of soil types on the seabed, on the basis of which it is possible to deduce the building capacity of the seabed.

Maps of bedrock layers on the seabed, coastal processes, geological risks and natural resources of the seabed will also be produced at the scale 1:100,000. Natural resources of the seabed include metallic minerals and rock material, as well as hydrocarbons in sedimentary rock in the bedrock layer, i.e. oil and gas.

In the third phase of the ongoing EMODnet project, the aim is to compile map material at a much more accurate scale than the current 1:100,000 as background material for future needs. When the project ends in spring 2019, all material at the scale 1:100,000 will be freely available to all.

Detailed marine environment planning is more important than ever before, as marine environments are being used more than before and any overlapping needs of users may result in conflicts. In 2009, the European Commission launched the EMODnet project to provide decision-makers and users of marine environments with relevant information about the geology, biology and chemistry of seabeds.

The total budget of the two-year EMODnet Geology project funded by the European Commission and coordinated by GTK is EUR 4.5 million. The project involves 39 organisations from 30 countries, most of which are national geological survey institutions. The third phase started in spring 2017 and has now reached the halfway mark.

Further information:

Henry Vallius, Geological Survey of Finland,

EMODnet Geology project coordinator,

tel. +358 29 503 2573, henry.vallius@gtk.fi

EMODnet Geology scheme: www.emodnet-geology.eu

EMODnet scheme: www.emodnet.eu


Finland’s bedrock may contain significant lithium reserves

The largest lithium reserves are estimated to be in the zone extending from Central Ostrobothnia to South Ostrobothnia

The Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) has evaluated lithium (Li) reserves in Finnish bedrock to a depth of one kilometre. The assessment consists of reserves in lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatite-hosted deposits. This is the only important lithium deposit type in Finland.

GTK narrowed down 19 areas that may include LCT pegmatite reserves. GTK estimated that these 19 areas include seven previously undiscovered lithium deposits.

According to GTK’s assessment, the lithium reserves contained by Finland’s undiscovered lithium deposits contain at least 510,000 tons of lithium, at a probability of 50 per cent. When compared with the volumes of known mineral deposits, more than 90 per cent of the metal content of Finland’s lithium deposits is located in poorly surveyed or completely undiscovered deposits.

Lithium reserves are mainly located in Ostrobothnia. Finland’s only well-known lithium reserves are located in six deposits in and around Kaustinen in Central Ostrobothnia. In total, these
deposits in Kaustinen contain 45,500 tons of lithium.

The total area of the 19 potential areas defined by GTK is 22,404 km2, comprising roughly seven per cent of Finland’s land area. Even though these areas are located in different parts of Finland, GTK estimates that more than 90 per cent of yet undiscovered lithium reserves are located in the area of Kaustinen or the surrounding Ostrobothnia lake district.

GTK has surveyed undiscovered mineral reserves in Finland’s bedrock since 2008. It uses the three-stage method developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in which estimates of the metal volumes contained by undiscovered mineral deposits are presented at three different levels of probability.

Areas that may include the mineral deposit types included in the survey are defined on the basis of their deposit models. The number of undiscovered mineral deposits located in these areas is estimated, and their metal volumes are calculated on the basis of the metal content of well-known deposits. However, the assessment does not  estimate how many as yet undiscovered deposits could be discovered in the future.

The results of the assessment were
published in GTK Bulletin 406:

Rasilainen, K., Eilu, P., Ahtola, T.,
Halkoaho, T., Kärkkäinen, N.,

Kuusela, J., Lintinen, P. & Törmänen, T. 2018. Quantitative assessment of undiscovered resources in lithium–caesium–tantalum pegmatite-hosted deposits in Finland. Geological Survey of Finland, Bulletin 406.

Online publication:
http://tupa.gtk.fi/julkaisu/bulletin/bt_406.pdf


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AgriAs project develops purification methods for European agricultural soils with elevated arsenic concentrations

The AgriAs project project is summarizing national and European databases and developing recommendations and guidelines for the sustainable management of As risks in agricultural areas. Arsenic removal technologies will be developed and demonstrated. Biological tools will be applied to manage ecological, environmental and human risks.

Research institutes, universities and companies from five European Union countries are participating in the project which is financed under the ERA-NET Cofund WaterWorks 2015 and coordinated by GTK. The French study site is a historical area of destruction of World War I chemical ammunition located in a sensitive zone both for agriculture and groundwater. The German site is characterized by 800 years of mining and ore processing.

In the stakeholder workshops of AgriAs, the interaction and discussions between farmers, authorities and researchers have been active. Recommendations will be compiled in close cooperation with authorities and stakeholders. The two study sites, Verdun in France and Freiberg in Germany, exhibit As contamination in agricultural soils. Over 1 billion shells and projectiles were fired in Europe during World War I. After the war, over 3 Mt of abandoned and unexploded ammunition had to be destroyed in northeast France for safety reasons. At many destruction sites, topsoil contamination is still severe.

After 800 years of mining in the Ore Mountain region in Saxony (Germany), 288 km² of agricultural soils show values exceeding the German action value of 50 mg/kg As. The centre of historical mining in Freiberg mainly shows concentrations above 320 mg/kg. Alluvial soil in the floodplains along rivers in this region has As concentrations from 80 to 320 mg/kg due to drainage water from mining tunnels and discharged process water and sediments from ore processing. Recommendations have been given by the German authorities for the treatment of As-rich soils for agriculture and gardening.

Agricultural topsoils contain more arsenic on average in central and southern Europe than in northern Europe. Most of the high values observed are of anthropogenic origin, but the natural geochemical background plays a role in ore districts. Contamination from mining activities, ammunition, wood preservatives, insecticides and herbicides has increased arsenic concentrations in the European environment.

More information:
Kirsti Loukola-Ruskeeniemi,
Project Coordinator
e-mail: kirsti.loukola-ruskeeniemi@gtk.fi.
Website of the AgriAs project: http://projects.gtk.fi/AgriAs/


Photo: Tuija Vähäkuopus, GTK

Survey results are important, also when assessing Finland’s carbon reserves and any changes in them

The surveys of peat reserves will focus on areas where the surveys conducted best supplement GTK’s data on mires and peatlands and serve the data needs of society and businesses.

Annually, approximately 20,000 hectares of mires and peatlands are surveyed in the whole of Finland. The aim is to identify the type and thickness of peat layers at intervals of roughly 125 metres over a level network of survey points. These survey points are positioned using GPS. Peat layers are drilled using lightweight manual drill equipment until the hard mineral layer is reached. In addition, the mire type based on vegetation, the drainage situation and the type and number of trees are defined at each survey point. Animal and plant species with a particular nature or protection value, as well as key isotopes, are identified and attached to the survey material. The surveyed mires are classified in accordance with the natural state classification of the national mire strategy.                               

After basic surveying, sample sets are taken from mires that are potentially suitable for peat production and best supplement the regional geochemical material, extending from the surface to the bottom, for laboratory examinations. These samples help to determine the water, ash, sulphur, nitrogen and carbon content, the amount of dry matter and the thermal value, together with a wide array of element analyses at the most representative sites.  The analysed data represent the regional geochemistry and background concentrations of mires and offer opportunities, for example, to determine the energy content of carbon reserves and identify any regional heavy metal anomalies.

When all survey results are available, a significant part of this data set will be updated in GTK’s online peat reserve service (www.gtk.fi/turvevarat). The service includes mire-specific and regional data on all the mires surveyed by GTK.

GTK’s Hakku service (http://hakku.gtk.fi) lets you search for and start using a range of geological data products. It includes previously published municipality-specific peat survey reports in PDF format. So far, more than 450 reports have been published regarding different parts of Finland.

Survey results are also important when assessing Finland’s carbon reserves and any changes in them. Carbon resources in Finland’s peat reserves are roughly nine times larger compared to living trees, and more than two-thirds of carbon in Finland’s soil is stored in peat. GTK’s peat surveys play a central part when assessing the future development and opportunities of the bioeconomy, carbon accumulation and carbon reserves. In addition, survey results can be used in mire drainage, forest cultivation in mire areas, agricultural planning, risk assessments of acid sulphate soils and in defining the value of mires when selling, purchasing or redeeming them. GTK’s peat surveys are also significant in modern land use planning, such as in regional planning processes.

The surveys of peat reserves will focus on areas where the surveys conducted best supplement GTK’s data on mires and peatlands and serve the data needs of society and businesses.
Annually, approximately 20,000 hectares of mires and peatlands are surveyed in the whole of Finland. The aim is to identify the type and thickness of peat layers at intervals of roughly 125 metres over a level network of survey points. These survey points are positioned using GPS. Peat layers are drilled using lightweight manual drill equipment until the hard mineral layer is reached. In addition, the mire type based on vegetation, the drainage situation and the type and number of trees are defined at each survey point. Animal and plant species with a particular nature or protection value, as well as key isotopes, are identified and attached to the survey material. The surveyed mires are classified in accordance with the natural state classification of the national mire strategy.
After basic surveying, sample sets are taken from mires that are potentially suitable for peat production and best supplement the regional geochemical material, extending from the surface to the bottom, for laboratory examinations. These samples help to determine the water, ash, sulphur, nitrogen and carbon content, the amount of dry matter and the thermal value, together with a wide array of element analyses at the most representative sites. The analysed data represent the regional geochemistry and background concentrations of mires and offer opportunities, for example, to determine the energy content of carbon reserves and identify any regional heavy metal anomalies.
When all survey results are available, a significant part of this data set will be updated in GTK’s online peat reserve service (www.gtk.fi/turvevarat). The service includes mire-specific and regional data on all the mires surveyed by GTK.
GTK’s Hakku service (http://hakku.gtk.fi) lets you search for and start using a range of geological data products. It includes previously published municipality-specific peat survey reports in PDF format. So far, more than 450 reports have been published regarding different parts of Finland.
Survey results are also important when assessing Finland’s carbon reserves and any changes in them. Carbon resources in Finland’s peat reserves are roughly nine times larger compared to living trees, and more than two-thirds of carbon in Finland’s soil is stored in peat. GTK’s peat surveys play a central part when assessing the future development and opportunities of the bioeconomy, carbon accumulation and carbon reserves. In addition, survey results can be used in mire drainage, forest cultivation in mire areas, agricultural planning, risk assessments of acid sulphate soils and in defining the value of mires when selling, purchasing or redeeming them. GTK’s peat surveys are also significant in modern land use planning, such as in regional planning processes.