BGS Drilling Facility

The drilling team on site in Essex
Drilling rig

On this page you will find information on the drilling capabilities of the BGS Drilling Facility which operates out of BGS Keyworth.

The team is comprised of staff from different science areas across BGS, all trained to an in-house level as either Lead Driller or Assistant Driller status. The facility has been in operation since the end of 2005 and uses a Dando Terrier 2002 rig to perform shallow drilling to a depth of 10-15m. The drill rig has three methods of recovering core depending on the geology being drilled.

The BGS Drilling Facility has been involved with a number of research themes. These have ranged from drilling estuarine sequences in the Thames basin looking at the depositional evolution of the River Thames to coring various glacial Till deposits in Wales and trying to understand the deposition of basement till, glacial lake sediments and moraines. We have been involved with providing sample and installing piezometers at a test site on the River Trent floodplain to understand the groundwater response to rainfall. We have also played a large part in the re-mapping process of certain areas of the UK such as the Cretaceous of the Isle of Wight, the Jurassic in Oxfordshire and the quaternary deposits in Somerset.

Further improvement of our in-situ downhole drilling tests means that the team now has the capability to perform Standard Penetration Tests, Cone Penetration Tests and Dynamic Probe Tests. This has been used to determine the strength characteristics of landslides.

Drilling services

The team aims to provide a complete service and if necessary can provide additional services to a project. In particular the team have developed skills and contacts in the following areas:

  • Searching for utilities and cables
  • Organising the field site
  • Recording all drilled core as a standard driller's log (to BS5930)
  • Remediation of the site after drilling has been completed
  • Transfer and storage of all cores back to BGS Keyworth
  • Registering of boreholes and logs in the BGS system
  • Performing down-hole tests and completing piezometer installation if necessary

Contacting the Team

If you have any questions, would like to discuss any drilling requirements or wish to book the drill team then please speak to Steve Thorpe (Tel: 0115 936 3189) to talk about how the drill team can help. If Steve isn't available then Carl Horabin can help.