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.



Morrison Construction has been confirmed as the main contractor for the Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology. It will be the Scottish headquarters for the British Geological Survey (BGS) and a joint research centre between the organisation and Heriot-Watt University for geological, petroleum and marine sciences. As part of the £9.6 million design and construction contract, Morrison Construction will deliver the new Lyell Centre on free land on the university’s Edinburgh campus. The centre will provide offices, research laboratories, aquarium laboratories and working zones, along with a central core with welfare facilities and external landscaped areas. Professor Murray Roberts, co-ordinator of the Lyell Centre, said: “We are really pleased to see the Lyell Centre moving into the construction phase. A lot of work over the last two years has got us here, on time and on budget. “Over the next year Heriot-Watt is embarking on an ambitious £8.5 million recruitment drive to appoint new research stars to move into the Lyell Centre and drive it forward.”

Professor Roberts went on to say that an interdisciplinary approach is required in order to tackle the challenges of energy supply and sustainable development in a changing world. John Ludden, executive director of BGS, explained that the work represents an exciting new opportunity for the British Geological Society and Heriot Watt to develop new areas of co-operation. Eddie Robertson, regional director of Morrison Construction, noted that the company is delighted to have been selected by the University and BGS. Work on the development is expected to start in December and run for around a year before completion. As part of the move, Heriot-Watt University will invest £8.5 million into recruiting new staff at the centre.



9 December 2014

At around the same time the reports were heard in the UK, a loud boom was reported by a number of people in the upstate New York areas of Buffalo, Cheektowaga and Clarence. People described it as loud enough to shake their homes and rattle windows, which led some to attribute the booms to a micro-earthquake. But Brian Baptie, seismologist at the British Geological Survey told MailOnline: 'Micro earthquakes are small. 'Usually too small for people to feel, and it’s extremely unlikely that the noises were caused by this. 'Even small earthquakes some have audible phenomenon. For example, the Folkestone earthquake of 2007, that had a magnitude of 4.3, had a loud booming noise. 'This is because the vibrations travel through the ground, and when this is coupled with the atmosphere it generates sound waves that can be heard over a large distance. 'But, observing this noise across such a large distance, including across countries, is unlikely. Similarly, the US Geological Survey's earthquake map shows no seismic activity in New York or in the UK, of any magnitude, over the past seven days.



2 December 2014

Forensic tests indicate that the remains were all males aged predominantly from their late teens to 25, with a handful of elders – the perfect profile for the crew of a medium-sized longship of the time – all put to the death at the same time with the use of a heavy sharp instrument such as a sword. Tests run by the British Geological Survey prove almost conclusively that the men originated from Sweden and radio-carbon dating places the killings between 910 and 1030 AD.



27 November 2014

We live on an ever-changing planet. Volcanoes emerge from the oceans; landslides transport millions of tonnes of material down hills and mountains causing billions of pounds of damage; coastlines and glaciers retreat at almost visible rates. But can we do anything about it? Lee Jones says we can...

BGS has a field laboratory site on the Holderness coast, at Aldbrough in North Yorkshire. The 300m-long site includes a 17m-high section of cliff made up of glacial till, a mixture of clay, sand, gravel and boulders left behind by retreating glaciers during the last ice age. The cliff has been monitored since 2001 and is disappearing at a rate of 3m a year. This erosion is caused by both landslides and the direct action of the sea crashing against it...

BGS also has a field observatory site at Virkisjökull in south-east Iceland, studying the evolution of the glacier and the surrounding landscape, and their responses to regional climate. Repeated, highly detailed surveys monitor how both the glacier and land surface, and the rock and earth beneath, change over time. Cutting-edge technologies, not used in such a combination anywhere else in the world, give us unique insights into how the landscape is formed and how the glacial system responds to climate change. Virkisjökull is retreating quickly, like most glaciers in Iceland. Since 1996, the glacier margin has retreated nearly 500m and it has accelerated over the last five years.



21 November 2014

The AGI Award for the Best Paper within the Event Programme - Recognising the best paper from the GeoBig5 event series, this award went to “Glasgow, setting the standard for Europe” by Diarmad Campbell, British Geological Survey. Judges said that: “It was a pleasure to watch someone articulate in such a clear manner why geology is important to the Future Cities agenda”.

The AGI Award for Excellence with Impact, sponsored by 1Spatial - The winning entry was UK Soil Observatory by the UK Soil Observatory Partners. Commenting on the winner, judges described it as “An ambitious project with huge potential as a spatial research resource for a range of fields including agriculture and geotechnical engineering”.



21 November 2014

The British Geological Survey recorded the tremor at 9.23am on Thursday, November 13. With a magnitude of 2.2, its epicentre was located at nearby Howgate 3km underground.

One Howgate resident, on social media, said: “My dogs ran through from the kitchen at that time. Something had scared them. There was a crash and I couldn’t figure what it was.”



19 November 2014

A bid to boost exploration rates in the UK North Sea has seen the launch of two new initiatives, including a move to re-assess the potential of the central North Sea.

The second project will be a study, developed by the British Geological Survey, of the Palaeozoic potential of the UKCS that will draw on data from operators and contractors. The two projects were announced in a keynote speech by Oonagh Werngren (pictured), industry body Oil & Gas UK’s operations director, at the PETEX exploration and production conference in London yesterday (November 18).



19 November 2014

At the PETEX 2014 conference in London today (November 18) Oil & Gas UK announced the kick- off of two projects aimed at stimulating exploration on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) and appealed for further industry participation in the 21st Century Exploration Road Map –a digital perspective of the UKCS petroleum geology...

In a keynote speech at the PETEX exploration and production conference in London, Oonagh Werngren MBE, Oil & Gas UK’s operations director, said: “Two projects have evolved from a scoping study for the 21st Century Exploration Road Map that made recommendations for both the geological and geographical scope and urgent priorities going forward. The first project comprises an industry-wide review, led and funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), of exploration wells drilled in the Central North Sea 2003-2013, an area deemed to hold the largest remaining potential on the UKCS. The second is a study, developed by the British Geological Survey, of the Palaeozoic potential of the UKCS that will draw on data from operators and contractors. ..



18 November 2014

On 13th November at the Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire, AGI hosted a new look awards ceremony for 2014. This prestigious event brought together leaders from across the geospatial sector to celebrate the best of the year’s geospatial projects, as well as excellence in teaching and research.

Recognising the best paper from the GeoBig5 event series, this award went to “Glasgow, setting the standard for Europe” by Diarmad Campbell, British Geological Survey. Judges said that:“It was a pleasure to watch someone articulate in such a clear manner why geology is important to the Future Cities agenda”.

The final and most prestigious award of the evening recognised an individual who has made a significant long term contribution to geospatial within their professional career over a sustained period of time...Keith was a champion and pioneer of GIS at BGS. With every leap forward in GIS technology over the years, Keith advanced and developed the systems at BGS, providing new capabilities that many of his geological colleagues would not even have dreamed of. He proved the organisational benefits of GIS over and over again. Keith’s many achievements over the years included being the original author and manager of the Geoscience Data Index (GDI), making BGS’s vast spatial data assets accessible to a huge audience from both within and outside BGS. He was a lead player in many other large corporate GIS systems including SIGMA, GeoReports, UKDEAL and GHASP.



18 November 2014

The British Geological Survey recorded the minor quake at 9:23 on Thursday 13 November, with locals reporting the tremor lasting for around thirty seconds. Occurring 3km below the surface, residents throughout Leadburn and Howgate reported feeling the tremor. Due to its magnitude and depth, some community members as far north as Kirkhill have acknowledged feeling the earthquake, with Valleyfield properties also being affected.



15 November 2014