A HELICOPTER in the skies over Callington has been collecting data to tell us more about the world beneath our feet.

Deep Digital Cornwall has asked the specialist South African company New Resolution Geophysics to carry out airborne electromagnetic surveys in the United Downs area of West Cornwall and in the mining area of Redmoor at Kelly Bray.

Using recently developed high-resolution instrumentation, the survey aims to improve understanding of local geology by mapping the surface of the granite, the regional fault systems, and any associated mineralisation.

While the helicopter flies low (around 80m over rural areas, and 240m over populated areas), a sensor towed beneath measures the natural electrical conductivity of the Earth’s surface and subsurface, helping to reveal the composition of soils and rocks, as well as the location of subsurface water.

Data collected, in conjunction with earlier geophysical surveys, will be used to inform future mining possiblities, as well as for other applications such as geothermal energy and groundwater management. The data will be made publicly available for further research.

Deep Digital Cornwall is a project based at the University of Exeter’s Camborne School of Mines. It’s funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Delivery partners include Cornish Lithium, Cornwall Resources and the South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications.

Professor Frances Hughes said: “We are looking forward to seeing the new data and testing how it helps us understand Cornwall’s important underground Geo resources, such as minerals we need for the energy transition and geothermal energy.”

The aim of the Deep Digital project is to create a world-leading cluster of research-active, highly innovative businesses in Cornwall, applying digital solutions to a wide range of opportunities connected to the county’s underground potential: mining, geothermal, civil engineering, environmental, surveying, water resources, planning and permits, heritage and tourism. Anyone wishing to find out more and track the location of the helicopter survey should visit https://deepdigitalcornwall.org/aerialsurvey/