Research news and awards

Latest news about our research. Project progress and collaboration. Awards and achievements.

Seismic trace
This list contains seismic events for which there is strong evidence that they have been induced by human activities.

16 August 2019

Map of seismicity detected at Preston New Road
Hydraulic fracturing is generally accompanied by microseismicity (very small earthquakes too small to be felt). During hydraulic fracturing operations at Preston New Road in 2018, around 50 very small seismic events were detected nearby.

16 August 2019


An urban geology expert group (UGEG) has been formally established under the EuroGeoSurveys. The group aims to develop a cohort of multidisciplinary scientists focused on urban challenges.

The ultimate goal of UGEG is to embed subsurface knowledge and understanding in the fabric of urban decision making in Europe as well as to lead on urban issues of global importance. The aim is for future cities, that live sustainably and in harmony with their surroundings and the ground they are built on. UGEG will help provide decision makers with the data, scientific evidence and policy advice to achieve this.

24 July 2019

BGS logo

British Geological Survey activities highlighted by major government report as helping to deliver UN Sustainable Development Goals

The British Geological Survey’s (BGS) activities and collaborations are being recognised as helping to deliver the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UK and internationally. This work was profiled at an international level when a major government report on UK engagement in the SDGs was presented at the UN on 16 July 2019. This demonstrates the importance and societal relevance of geology and BGS expertise in connecting geology to international development.

18 July 2019

Seismic trace
The following preliminary information is available for this earthquake: DATE : 14 July 2019 ORIGIN TIME : 05:39 24s UTC LAT/LONG : 18.202° South / 120.337° East DEPTH : 10.0 km MAGNITUDE : 6.6 Mw LOCALITY : Offshore location, 200 km west of Broome north-west Australia. This earthquake equals the largest ever event recorded in Australia. It was felt from Perth to Darwin. It stunned many local residents who had never felt an earthquake before. There are no reports of substantial damage, strong shaking was observed with many items falling of shelves and tables. There was no threat of a tsunami from this event.

15 July 2019

The following preliminary information is available for this earthquake: DATE : 14 July 2019 ORIGIN TIME : 09:10 50s UTC LAT/LONG : 0.529° South / 128.093° East DEPTH : 10.0 km MAGNITUDE : 7.3 Mw LOCALITY : Remote region of Indonesia, 100 km NNE of Laiwui. This event currently has an onshore location. There is very little information available at this time. Latest media reports indicate that it has been felt over a wide area.

15 July 2019


The British Geological Survey (BGS) and the Environment Agency (EA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) detailing the areas where they will work together at strategic, technical and operational levels.

The two organisations will collaborate to improve environmental outcomes and optimise the use of resources. This will deliver long-term benefits to the environment and enable and support world-leading UK applied research in environmental geoscience.

In particular, the partnership aims to work together in the following areas:

  • Climate change: identify and advise on relevant long-term, climate-driven environmental change and extreme events, aligning with latest government policy, guidance and research on climate change.
  • Groundwater protection: identify and advise on sources and behaviour of pollutants in the subsurface; risk assessment and development of effective monitoring and risk management strategies.
  • Government policy and legislation: understand approaches to government policies on environmental and geoscience issues, and achievement of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Flood risk management: understand sources and controls on, and reduce risks from, flooding and its impacts on communities, infrastructure and the environment.
  • Incident management: identify practical measures to prevent, reduce and manage environmental (pollution) incidents and extreme events.
  • Innovation, research and development: share good practice and data for research, identify new technologies and consider collaborative research and partnership opportunities.

Prof John Ludden, chief executive officer of the BGS, said: 'I am very pleased to see this formal agreement on a number of ongoing issues that concern the BGS and the EA. The environmental challenges facing the UK are urgent and require well-founded, scientific evidence in support of decisions and the BGS will contribute to these through this MoU.'

23 May 2019


A cross–academy initiative by the UK National Academies has awarded funding to research teams that have proposed solutions for the globe’s most challenging issues of resilience.

Dr Michael Ellis, head of catchment science and observatories at the British Geological Survey (BGS), will lead a new project alongside Dr Bui Quang Hung from Vietnam National University and Dr Maria Aileen Leah G Guzman from Ateneo de Manila University.

The project aims to understand and increase the resilience to hazards of rapidly expanding cities in Vietnam and the Philippines. Asian cities and vulnerable populations are exposed to multiple natural hazards, which are generally exacerbated by human interventions including rapid urbanisation. This project will look at the interplay of culture (the human ’process’), hazards and their impacts, and catchment properties to develop tools and a better understanding of resilience for Vietnamese and Pilipino civil society

In total, 15 international and interdisciplinary consortia are receiving over £7 million from the UK Government–funded Challenge–led Grants.

The grants are part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government to support cutting–edge research and innovation that address the global issues faced by developing countries.

The grants aim to foster collaboration not just between disciplines but between countries, with each consortium being composed of one research group from the UK and two from developing countries.

16 May 2019

Seismic trace
The following preliminary information is available for this earthquake: DATE : 4 May 2019 ORIGIN TIME : 00:19 19.5s UTC LAT/LONG : 51.159° North / 0.243° West GRID REF : 522.9kmE / 141.5 kmN DEPTH : 2.3 km MAGNITUDE : 2.5 ML LOCALITY : Newdigate, Surrey INTENSITY : 3 EMS

4 May 2019

Ocean image
British Geological Survey and Heriot-Watt scientists are research partners in the ambitious, £20 million UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub, which will transform the global response to the urgent challenges facing our oceans.
From plastic pollution to rising sea levels and acidification to over-fishing, the threats facing our oceans are well-known.
The UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub will bring together the competing interests and agendas of the individuals, groups and organisations that rely on our oceans to realise a vision of an integrated and sustainable approach to managing their use.
A key priority will be to ensure the knowledge, experiences and rights of those most-reliant upon the oceans, and disproportionately affected by our failure to protect them, are recognised.
The team will set out to uncover the less tangible values of the ocean, and the hidden 'trade-offs' in ocean decision-making.
The goal is to ensure decision-making is based on evidence of risks and opportunities among competing ocean uses.
Find out more

22 January 2019