News stories about BGS

A selection of recent news, that includes mentions of the British Geological Survey, reported in online news websites. Click on a heading link to read the full article.



Durham Cathedral has been nominated as one of the UK's top 100 Geosites.

The famous world heritage building has been chosen for its range of excellent building stones.

To celebrate the geological importance of Durham Cathedral, local specialist Brian Young will be leading a walk and talk about the geology of the area today.

Mr Young, a retired British Geological Survey, District Geologist for Northern England, is also a Cathedral Guide and is passionate about sharing his knowledge with others in a friendly and accessible way.

Gina Davies, Woodlands and Riverbanks Officer at Durham Cathedral, said: “Brian did some training recently with our volunteers and it was a fascinating session, they all really enjoyed it. "We hope that people will be excited about the opportunity to learn more about the types of stone used in the Cathedral itself.”



18 October 2014

The Anthropocene Epoch is a name under consideration to describe our present time in geological history. The title was chosen to reflect the great influence of human activities on the modern environment, but will it be accepted by an official body in charge of assigning such names?

The Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) is likely to recommend a change, although details of what the group will suggest remains unknown.

"It is clear that, though we have differences about when it starts, it seems as a group that we were quite happy to say we are in the Anthropocene," Colin Waters of the British Geological Society, and secretary for the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy, said.



17 October 2014

BGS geologists Mike Ellis and Colin Waters are part of the working group meeting to decide whether or not to propose formal adoption of the 'Anthropocene', the new epoch of humanity.


16 October 2014

Some of Northern Ireland's most popular tourist attractions have made it onto a list of the top 100 geological sites in the UK and Ireland.

Loughareema, close to the seaside town of Ballycastle, translates from the Irish language as "vanishing lake". Dr Kirstin Lemon from Geological Survey of Northern Ireland said no-one actually knows why the water drains out of the lake, but this month, scientists are beginning a survey that might help them discover the reason.

She said there are other vanishing lakes in Ireland, because of the amount of limestone on the island. However, she said as the land around Loughareema is full of impermeable rock known as schist, the disappearing water has "baffled people for years". Dr Lemon said the presence of chalk in the area might explain the drainage, but hopefully all will be revealed when the project is complete.



15 October 2014

Bangor University is to play a crucial role in training scientists of the future who will improve our understanding of soils, which are key to tackling many of today’s global challenges, including food, water and energy security.

This funding has been awarded to the Soils Training and Research Studentships (STARS) consortium, of which Bangor University is a co-leader with Lancaster University. Other members of the consortium are Cranfield and Nottingham universities, The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Rothamsted Research, the British Geological Survey and the James Hutton Institute.

This £2.3m programme, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), aims to create a new generation of highly-skilled soil scientists who understand the soil ecosystem from both environmental and biological viewpoints.



14 October 2014

As the energy debate hots up, North East experts have outlined how the UK could tap into a clean supply deep beneath the ground. They were speaking at a London conference yesterday on geothermal energy organised by EGS Energy Ltd and a partnership managed at Durham University.

The conference saw the launch of the BritGeothermal Research Partnership, which consists of Durham, Newcastle and Glasgow universities and the British Geological Survey.



13 October 2014

The UK’s only dedicated space weather forecast centre has been launched to alert satellite telecommunication providers and electrical network operators in case of major solar storms...

...The Met Office is working closely with a range of partners including NOAA’a Space Weather Prediction Centre, Science and Technology Facilities Council, British Geological Survey, University of Bath, RAL Space, British Antarctic Survey and several other universities and research organisations to optimise the use of data, knowledge and models.



9 October 2014

High-resolution scans of over 6,000 geological maps previously published on paper have been released on the internet by the British Geological Survey. The BGS Maps Portal provides free-to-view small and medium scale maps produced by the BGS since geological mapping began in 1832 and includes the recent 1:50,000 mapping of England, Wales and Scotland, geochemical and geophysical maps and also historical maps.

The BGS said that traditionally, geological surveys focused on the geology of the solid subsurface and produced paper geological maps, but its strategy is now to continuously monitor geological processes and develop 3D digital geological models.

Executive director Professor John Ludden said: “BGS is increasingly moving to full digital delivery of its maps and this step allows downloads of our highest resolution map products created and developed over 180 years that have underpinned the economic development of the UK.”



7 October 2014

A new central environmental data platform is to be developed by a scientist at Heriot-Watt University (HWU) to boost safety of oil and gas exploration in UK waters

Dr Gormley’s work builds on the NERC ‘North Sea Interactive (NSI) project, which merges industry environmental survey data held in the UKBenthos Database with BGS sediment data and NOC oceanographic data into a Geographical Information System (GIS) database for the North Sea; an approach embraced by Oil and Gas UK.

NSI was co-ordinated by Heriot-Watt University in collaboration with the British Geological Survey (BGS), the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the industry’s representative body Oil and Gas UK.



6 October 2014

An ocean engineer at the University of Rhode Island [in partnership with British Geological Survey's Dave Tappin] has found that a massive underwater landslide, combined with the 9.0 earthquake, was responsible for triggering the deadly tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011.

In a series of models, Grilli and his former doctoral student Jeff Harris worked backwards in time to recreate the movement of the seafloor from the earthquake and concluded that an additional movement underwater about 100 kilometers north of the earthquake's epicenter must have occurred to propagate the large waves that struck Sanriku. So the URI engineers and colleagues at the British Geological Survey and the University of Tokyo went looking for evidence that something else happened there.

"Underwater landslides tend to create shorter period tsunami waves, and they tend to concentrate their energy in a small stretch of coastline," said Grilli. "The train of waves from the landslide, combined with the earthquake generated waves, together created the 40 meter inundation along the Sanriku Coast."



3 October 2014