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.



The project seeks to confirm the presence of petrochemicals in the voltaian basin that stretches across Volta, Northern, Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and Eastern regions. It is being jointly spearheaded by the Ghana National Petroleum Company and the Petroleum Ministry. A stakeholders' meeting to sensitise the chiefs in the Asante-Akim North District and collate their views ahead of the preliminary seismic work has been held at Agogo. Ananekrom, a farming community near Agogo, is one of the 66 communities in 24 districts, where the seismic line passes and therefore the need to engage the people. Mr Seth Foli, Environmental Engineer of the GNPC, said the project would take off in March, next year, and would be carried out for two years. Previous works done by the Geological Survey Department, British Geological Survey, Water Resources Institute and other researches pointed to a potential discovery of oil in the basin. He said mitigation measures had been put in place to control the impact on the people - land, crops and the ecosystem, adding that, a committee would be set up to ensure that those affected by the activity are adequately compensated. He gave the assurance that GNPC would do everything to collaborate with relevant state agencies to uphold best international practices. Mr. Peter Anarfi, the Ashanti Regional Minister, welcomed the project and said it was in the nation's best interest. He underlined the need for the country to focus on onshore oil and gas exploration and urged the people to cooperate with the GNPC.



26 July 2015

The British Geological Survey has recorded a small earthquake just south of Caldbeck. Measuring 1.6 in magnitude, it happened around 11am on Friday. Anything under two on the Richter Scale is classed as a microearthquake and is usually never felt. The last one previously recorded in Cumbria by the BGS was on June 30, in Aspatria, measuring 0.6 on the Richter Scale.



20 July 2015

Minecraft has taken its virtual world and dimensional maps to a whole new level at the British Geological Survey with the creation of 3D geological representations of the UK. London, York and Ingleborough are among the areas showcased in the models' natural geographic behaviours including land overlaps and folds at different levels of depth. Players will also be able to see the other side of the map, enabling the users to see rocks and soil below ground level. The creators of Minecraft at BGS used the free models to convert the below-ground scenery into transparent Minecraft blocks, giving users a more realistic feel and easy comprehension of geological theories of how ground layers are formed. The map has been tested by Iain Stewart, Professor of geosciences communications at Plymouth University. “This is what we geologists always have in our minds when we map and model the rocks of the UK, this is a fantastic tool for young people to see the interaction between the above and below ground,” he said. Rosie Wildman, age 8, had the opportunity to give it a go. “It’s really cool," she said. "You can find your way around the world and see what it’s like underground.”



17 July 2015

The new agreement is the latest in a series of the School’s initiatives to address one of the most pressing issues for world leaders today, the low carbon and sustainability agenda. The University of Texas at Austin, The Clean Air Task Force (CATF) and US energy generator, Southern Company Services (SCS) have committed to collaborate with China’s Guangdong CCUS Centre. The partners will collaborate on joint research and development of new technologies aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions through the capture and storage of CO2 emissions from industry. The collaboration will assess CO2 capture technologies and evaluate the viability of novel and safe storage facilities, such as offshore geological formations. The Guangdong CCUS centre was officially founded in 2013 as a joint project between UK and Chinese engineers and scientists, including researchers from the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) research partnership, of which the University of Edinburgh is one partner. Dr Xi Liang, Director of the Centre for Business at Climate Change at University of Edinburgh Business School, signed the agreement in his capacity as Secretary General of the Guangdong CCUS Centre.

He said: "Through the Guangdong CCUS Centre, we are making great progress in demonstrating the benefits of CCUS in China. This is the latest milestone on our journey to develop technologies with potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions from energy production and key industries worldwide. We are very pleased to have these new US partners backing the project, and hope this will lead to further collaborations between the three countries." In 2011, the School created the world’s first MSc in Carbon Finance to develop responsible low carbon investment leaders. It also recently developed a strategic partnership with Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management – to integrate its world-leading expertise in carbon finance, management and strategic leadership with the leading Chinese business school’s financial innovation and economics capability. The University of Edinburgh was one of the founding partners of the SCCS research partnership, which also includes British Geological Survey, Heriot-Watt University, the University of Aberdeen and the University of Strathclyde



11 July 2015

The igneous rock has historically been widely used across the region for building everything from bridges to mansions.Now scientists are looking at ways to tap the hot water that naturally flows through the rock deep underground and use it to provide heat for an entire town.The Hill of Banchory Geothermal Energy Project will see surveys undertaken at three locations in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, by Aberdeen University and the University of Glasgow.A team of geologists plan to identify hotspots where groundwater is naturally heated by the granite and which could be extracted using a drill rig and pumped to local homes.If the research proves successful, the heat could be harnessed through a distribution network across the entire area.A positive result could also help the launch of similar projects across the wider region and turn the north-east into a geothermal goldmine.The project is a joint venture between Jigsaw Energy, Hobesco Cluff Geothermal Ltd, the British Geological Survey, the universities, Town Rock Energy, and Ramboll.



9 July 2015

The igneous rock has historically been widely used across the region for building everything from bridges to mansions. And now, the hot water which naturally flows through the rock deep underground could be used to provide heat for an entire town. The Hill of Banchory Geothermal Energy Project will see surveys undertaken at three locations in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, by Aberdeen University and the University of Glasgow. A team of geologists plan to identify hotspots where groundwater is naturally heated by the granite which could be extracted using a drill rig and pumped to local homes. And, if the research proves successful, the heat could be harnessed through a distribution network across the entire area. A positive result could also help the launch of similar projects across the wider region and turn the north-east into a geothermal goldmine. The project is a joint venture between Jigsaw Energy, Hobesco Cluff Geothermal Ltd, the British Geological Survey, the universities, Town Rock Energy, and Ramboll.



7 July 2015

Physicists from Trinity College Dublin have developed a space weather warning system to help safeguard electricity and communications systems from solar and geomagnetic storms. On St Patrick’s Day this year, the northern lights danced a lively green jig across the skies of Ireland and Britain. The source of these magnetic storms was two huge eruptions of electrically charged material from the Sun, which travelled through space at millions of kilometres an hour before colliding with the Earth’s magnetic field. The resulting geomagnetic storms, the strongest for a decade, led to dramatic displays of the northern lights across Ireland and Britain. British Geological Survey models indicate that unwanted electrical currents may have been induced in our power grids during the storm. Despite this, the Irish and British power grids did not suffer any damage, boosting the prospects for resilience when worse ‘space weather’ events take place. Society is vastly dependent on technological systems for communications and electricity. These can be disturbed by magnetic storms – navigation systems can have positing errors, radio transmission can be blacked out, and power grids can become unstable. For this reason scientists at Trinity and the British Geological Survey were on high alert this St Patrick’s Day as their attention was immediately turned to the potential effects on communications and electrical power systems following an early-warning alert.

“A warning message from our magnetometer network developed by Trinity and the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies notified me of the onset of a large geomagnetic storm as I watched the St Patrick’s Day parade with my family,” said associate professor of physics at Trinity, Peter Gallagher. “My research student Sean Blake quickly ran the British Geological Survey’s magnetic storm model to see if there were any threats to the Irish power grid. Despite the storm’s size, no significant effects were predicted or indeed reported.” A Carrington-sized super storm could pose a threat to the stability of power grids and communication systems, particularly in countries at high latitudes. The Trinity team’s work focuses on understanding how these large storms might impact such technologies and on improving our ability to forecast their occurrence. “This storm and a more recent one in June were the biggest we have seen in over 10 years. They produced the biggest electrical fields on the ground – and hence currents – we have seen since our system started operation in 2012. Fortunately, the British power grid held up well too, so it gives us more confidence that at least some of our systems are pretty resilient to inclement space weather,” said Dr Kelly of the British Geological Survey. The St Patrick’s Day storm showed the Trinity team that their alert system works in Ireland and helped BGS scientists gather data on how the storms affected Britain. “We can now monitor and model magnetic storms in near-real time, which allows us to understand the physics of such phenomena and provides a potentially invaluable service to power operators” said PhD researcher in physics at Trinity, Sean Blake.



7 July 2015

As part of Adama’s WaterAware initiative, the WaterAware APP spatially assimilates soil type and the associated soil moisture deficit information along with forecast weather, to provide farmers with a simple yes/no guide with regard to the timing of spray and pellet applications and the potential risk to surface water. “WaterAware helps farmers to identify the potential risk from applying a product on a particular day, given their on farm conditions, in order to minimize the risk of pesticides entering surface water supplies,” says Dr Paul Fogg, Senior Crop Team Leader at Adama. Water Aware Following the launch of WaterAware in 2014, this new APP is a further indication of Adama’s commitment to promoting the responsible use of current chemistry which is under increasing pressure, not least from issues surrounding the levels of pesticide in raw drinking water supplies and the need for the UK to comply with Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives. “UK agriculture has lost over 70% of the active substances at its disposal since the early 1990s,” says Ali Bosher, Marketing Manager at Adama, “and this, combined with the increasing technical challenges posed by resistance, increased EU legislation and the lack of new modes of action means that we need to do all that we can to protect the remaining actives at our disposal.” Jacky Atkinson from the Drinking Water Inspectorate notes that efforts to date, whilst achieving some success, still need to be improved upon: “A raft of measures have been put in place and have demonstrated some really promising results in some areas. However, for metaldehyde specifically, the next two year period is critical and by 2018 companies must assess whether they need to do something more robust over and above existing guidelines.”

“It is clear that efforts to date have been insufficient to mitigate many of the non-target, water related impacts,” confirms Dr Fogg of Adama. “The increasing trend of raw water exceedances for oilseed rape herbicides such as metazachlor, carbetamide, propyzamide and quinmerac – along with the slug control metaldehyde – need to be reversed. At present around 40% of the 485 surface water drinking water protected areas in England and Wales are at risk of failing to meet WFD objectives.” In developing ‘WaterAware’ Adama hope to help avoid the need for additional regulatory measures. “We felt that an APP based on field-based risk assessment would complement other approaches whilst being an effective measure based on best practice.” WaterAware App • GPS located to allow specific field reviews • Automatic soil classification utilising British Geological survey MySoil-UKSO Platforms • Met office weather data allowing a view of spraying potential “today” and in 72 hours • Use of Soil Moisture deficit MORECS • Pesticides identified by VI and Water Authorities • Calibrated for use with OSR, Winter Wheat and Grassland



6 July 2015

As part of Adama’s WaterAware initiative, the WaterAware APP spatially assimilates soil type and the associated soil moisture deficit information along with forecast weather, to provide farmers with a simple yes/no guide with regard to the timing of spray and pellet applications and the potential risk to surface water. “WaterAware helps farmers to identify the potential risk from applying a product on a particular day, given their on farm conditions, in order to minimize the risk of pesticides entering surface water supplies,” says Dr Paul Fogg, Senior Crop Team Leader at Adama.

Following the launch of WaterAware in 2014, this new APP is a further indication of Adama’s commitment to promoting the responsible use of current chemistry which is under increasing pressure, not least from issues surrounding the levels of pesticide in raw drinking water supplies and the need for the UK to comply with Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives.



4 July 2015

The eight new layers cover a variety of physical features and hazards, including a nationwide map of groundwater flooding as well as ground stability data, geological indicators of flooding and permeability data. Widely used by developers, planners and environmental consultants, for example, this new data complements the national datasets already on offer, including high resolution aerial photography, detailed height models and Ordnance Survey mapping.

The Geological map layers from BGS that are now available through the Bluesky Mapshop include both the 1:10,000 scale and 1:50, scale DigMapGB digital geological maps of Great Britain. These cover five standard themes: Artifical Ground, Bedrock Geology, Linear Features, Mass Movement Deposits and Superficial Deposits, as well as a composition type. Applications of this data ranges from detailed site assessment through to nationwide studies, dependent on scale.



30 June 2015