GSI Masters by Research Scholarship Project proposal - A new offshore geological map of the Irish shelf through geomorphometry and semi-automated techniques

Geological Survey Ireland has launched a new call for Scholarships for students wishing to undertake a Masters by Research. The call will comprise of two stages: and Expression of Interest and a Full Proposal stage. Full proposals can only be submitted once an Expression of Interest is submitted and the topic is deemed eligible. The Full proposal stage will be submitted by both the academic supervisor and the named Scholar.

At present, we are looking for a prospective candidate to join the following project proposal as Scholar: "A new offshore geological map of the Irish shelf through geomorphometry and semi-automated techniques"

Supervisors: Dr. Riccardo Arosio, Prof. Andy Wheeler and Dr. Pat Meere (School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University College Cork)


With the renovated interest in offshore geology driven by the need of evidence-supported strategies for marine spatial planning -including offshore renewable energy (ORE), marine infrastructure and marine protected areas development, a detailed reappraisal of the shallow marine bedrock geology of Ireland is sorely needed. At present only a low-resolution solid geology map is available on the EMODnet portal, however with the acquisition of novel high-resolution multibeam echosounder data from the INFOMAR programme, significant improvements can be made.

Project outline and aims

The high-resolution INFOMAR multibeam bathymetric dataset (up to 2 m/pixel) allows for an extension and improvement of the geological interpretation of the shallow regions, but in the absence of ground-truthing, must rely on computer algorithms to facilitate the task. Geomorphometry analysis and clustering can enable the categorisation of strike and dips of bedding planes and faulting in order to streamline the geological interpretation as well as link the offshore geology to onshore observations. Previous work carried out in the Marine Geoscience Group at UCC has demonstrated proof-of-concept of these techniques and produced a first tentative seamless bedrock geology map of the area offshore the Loop Head peninsula, enabled the extraction of cross profiles and stereographic projects of structural features.

We propose a research project with the following objectives:

  1. Firstly, machine learning techniques will be explored to separate boulder and gravel/coarse grained cover from bedrock outcrops taking advantage of the very high resolution coastal MBES data available and thus delineating the mappable areas.
  2. Machine learning will produce computer-based confidence scores and provide repeatable results for future INFOMAR data.
  3. Secondly, the regions with outcropping bedrock will be remapped at high resolution (e.g. 2-5 m/pixel), using mainly bathymetry data and coupling semi-automated geomorphometry techniques with manual supervision, quality control and classification.
  4. Results will include a classification of the bedrock at Group level (potentially Formation level in some places) and major structural elements like faults/joints and fold positions.
  5. Rough structural information as dip and strike of bedding planes and simple cross sections will also be extracted where possible manipulating the bathymetry data with mathematical operations.
  6. Finally, seamless links to onshore geology mapping will be attempted where possible and some measurements of confidence will included in the mapping.

Salary: 24,000 euro per annum (2 years)

Requisites: The candidate must have a BSc. (Hons) in a relevant geoscience discipline (minimum second-class Honours, Grade 1 or equivalent). Familiarity with GIS is preferred. All candidates whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency.

If interested, please e-mail your CV (max 2 pages) and a cover letter describing your relevant experience and motivations to and

The closing date for applications is 15th February 2023

posted: 13 January 2023     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.