Research news and awards

Latest news about our research. Project progress and collaboration. Awards and achievements.


Lake Challa

The DeepCHALLA project has secured nearly £0.5 million from the International Continental scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) towards drilling costs in order to conduct an unrivalled suite of state-of-the-art investigations into equatorial climate change using environmental proxies, chronological tools and climate modelling. The objectives are: to collect long cores from Lake Challa (encompassing an estimated 250,000 years); to establish a chronology for the new cores through a range of state of the art techniques; and to better understand climate and ecological change in equatorial East Africa using a variety of methods. A major target is to investigate the existence of so-called ‘megadroughts’; periods of millennial-scale aridity around 100,000 years ago. Such long and intensely dry events in the monsoonal African climate history are an unexpected phenomenon, and their precise timing, origin and extent, have yet to be established. The sensitivity of Lake Challa to climate variability, and the potential to develop an excellent uninterrupted chronology for its sediment record, makes it an ideal site to investigate these megadroughts.

The multi international team of researchers is overall led by Professor Dirk Verschuren (Ghent University, Belgium). The UK team comprise Prof Philip Barker (University of Lancaster), Prof Melanie Leng (BGS/University of Nottingham), Dr Christine Lane (University of Manchester), Dr Maarten Blaauw (Queens University Belfast), Prof Barbara Maher (University of Lancaster), Dr Rob Marchant (University of York) and Dr David Ryves (University of Loughborough).



17 September 2014

NCCCS logo

BGS now have 3 honorary staff appointments in place as part of NCCCS:

Chris Rochelle, Honorary Associate Professor in Geochemistry is leading the early career researcher programme in NCCCS.

Ceri Vincent, Honorary Assistant Professor in Hydrocarbons Geoscience is leading overseas networking and collaborations in NCCCS.

Sean Rigby, Visiting Research Associate is leading the NCCCS PhD Programme.



9 September 2014

NGPD map
A milestone was reached at BGS this August as the 100 000th borehole was entered into the National Geotechnical Properties Database.


5 September 2014

Waterfall A11980
More than 27 tonnes of ammonium leaches from an Oxford wetland into the River Thames every year, reports the Natural Environment Research Council.


27 August 2014

Sev Kender

Dr Sev Kender has been appointed as a Research Fellow within the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry (University of Nottingham) and an Honorary Research Fellow with the British Geological Survey. Sev is a Micropalaeontologist and Palaeoeanographer and has just returned from an IODP expedition off the coast of Japan, in the Philippine Sea, collecting sediment cores to investigate past changes in the ocean.



12 August 2014

NERC impact awards logo

To mark its 50th anniversary, NERC is pleased to announce its inaugural Impact Awards.

The awards will recognise and reward NERC-funded researchers, as individuals or teams, whose work has had substantial impact on the economy and society. The awards will culminate in a prize-giving ceremony in London on 27 January 2015, showcasing the researchers, their work and the impact of the science that NERC funds.

There will be four award categories:

  • Economic Impact Award
    Recognising research that has achieved exceptional economic benefit.
  • Societal Impact Award
    Recognising research that has achieved exceptional social, cultural, public policy or service, health, environmental or quality of life benefits.
  • International Impact Award
    Recognising research that has achieved exceptional economic and/or societal impact outside the UK.
  • Early Career Impact Award
    Recognising an early career researcher who has achieved exceptional economic and/or societal impact within the UK or internationally.

A winner from one of the four categories will be selected to receive the Overall Impact Award, in recognition of the outstanding impact of their research.

The winner of each category will receive £10,000 and the runner-up £5,000, to further the impacts of their research. The Overall Impact Award winner will receive an additional £30,000.

You can apply for an award yourself, or nominate someone else. The closing date for applications is 16:00 Wednesday 10 September 2014.

More information



8 August 2014

Geology Cover July 2014

Around ca. 56 million years ago there was a major global environmental perturbation attributed to a rapid rise in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The period, called the Palaeocene-Eocene boundary, is often used as an analogue for a future greenhouse world. This paper shows for the first time that temperatures of tropical oceans rose to greater than 40°C and may have been the cause of loss of some marine biota at this time.



29 July 2014

Jonathan Dean Graduation

Congratulations to Dr Jonathan Dean who graduated from the University of Nottingham yesterday. Jonathan is currently working within the Stable Isotope Facility at the BGS as an Isotope Apprentice. His PhD research was entitled: Stable Isotope Analysis and U-Th Dating of Late Glacial and Holocene Lacustrine Sediments from Central Turkey.



21 July 2014

Dr Jonathan Dean

This paper considers whether the Anthropocene is recorded in the isotope geochemistry of the atmosphere, sediments, plants and ice cores, and the time frame during which any changes are recorded, presenting examples from the literature. Dean, J.R., Leng, M.J., Mackay, A.W. 2014. Is there an isotopic signature of the Anthropocene? The Anthropocene Review.



16 July 2014

Annemarie Valentine
Annemarie Valentine from the University of Derby has successfully defended her PhD research on "An investigation into the seasonality of the Pliocene southern North Sea Basin: a sclerochronological approach". Annemarie was supervised by Dr Andy Johnson at the University of Derby and Prof Melanie Leng at the BGS.


4 July 2014