Materials collections holdings

Children enjoying a rock show event

Onshore Borehole Collection

The National Collection of onshore (landward) borehole samples material from over 15 000 boreholes including over 200 km of drillcore over 22 km of drillcore drilled for Nirex plc the official DTI repository for drillcore, cuttings and samples from 'landward' hydrocarbon wells.

Search the: Onshore borehole material database

Offshore Borehole Collection

The UK Continental Shelf (offshore) hydrocarbon well collection contains materal from approximately 8000 wells, including over 300 km of drillcore and 4.5 million samples of cuttings.

Search the Offshore Hydrocarbons wells database (including images)

Biostratigraphy and Palaeontology Collections

The foremost UK biostratigraphical collection, with over three million specimens.

Many type, figured and cited fossils, plus representative reference examples.

Individual collections from most fossiliferous localities across Britain; a comprehensive micro-palaeontological slide collection, including many samples from boreholes and important donated material, such as the John Smith & Kidston collections.

Search the Onshore borehole material database

Search the PalaeoSaurus collections database


Offshore samples from the UK continental shelf and elsewhere, including:

  • boreholes
  • vibrocores
  • gravity cores
  • grab samples

Petrological and Mineralogy Collections


The major collection of British rocks and thin sections· National Reference Collection (approximately 200 000 thin sections and hand specimens from most major rock units).

  • Museum Collection—- many display quality samples, including Darwin material and early collection from Antarctica
  • Building Stones — including National Roofing Materials Collection
  • International Reference Collection — thin sections and hand specimens
  • Minerals Collection — including the Thorman Collection

Search the mineralogy and petrology collection database


A variety of materials, mostly held as processed samples, collected primarily for geochemical analysis:

  • G-BASE sample archive — The G-BASE project collects and analyses soils and stream sediments from many parts of the UK
  • Mineral Reconnaissance Programme collection