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.
A £3million centre to develop new technology for the growing marine robotics sector was officially opened by universities minister Jo Johnson at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) this week. The Marine Robotics Innovation Centre will be a hub for businesses and scientists developing technology to capture data from the depths of the world's oceans. Kevin Forshaw, associate director at the NOC said: “Globally, this sector is worth some £9billion and is growing with the UK leading the way.
The fleet of marine robots based at the NOC is now one of the most advanced in the world and it is hoped it will attract top students to the centre. This project is being led by the University of Southampton, and also involves the British Antarctic Survey, Heriot-Watt University, University of East Anglia, and the Scottish Association for Marine Science. NEXUSS, which will provide training for up to 30 students from September 2016, has been funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The society, which is based in Keyworth, revealed the tremors hit Warsop in the space of three days, with the biggest measuring 1.8 on the Richter scale. The latest hit the area shortly before 9pm on Saturday, with two others hitting at 2.14am and 12.55am. The day before, a further three tremors were measured at 1.8, 1.7 and 1.2 on the Richter scale. Another two hit on Thursday morning, measuring 1.8 and 1.7 once again. Glenn Ford, a seismologist at the British Geological Survey, said the tremors could have been caused by stresses on old fault lines.
Students and teachers learned about different types of seismic waves, designing seismometers, locating earthquakes by triangulation and searching for patterns in where earthquakes occur. They also looked into discovering the frequency distribution of the different magnitudes of earthquakes. The event, which was part of the Fulneck Seismology project, also included students from The Grammar School at Leeds and Batley Girls’ High School. Paul Denton from the The British Geological Survey talked to the students about possible careers in seismology and what seismologists do.
The status is awarded in recognition of an area’s internationally important rocks and landscapes and how they are used for sustainable tourism.
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: "I welcome this historic announcement of UNESCO Global Geoparks, the first new programme in UNESCO for over 40 years. Here in Northern Ireland we are fortunate to have some of the most diverse rocks and landscapes on Earth. It is these foundations that have given rise to our most iconic tourist attractions such as the Giants Causeway World Heritage site and of course the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark here in Fermanagh. I am certain the new designation as a UNESCO Global Geopark will help to act as a catalyst for increasing our tourism revenue, using the world-renowned UNESCO brand as a mechanism for sharing our wonderful natural landscapes with the world. There are currently nine UNESCO Global Geoparks in the UK and Ireland and each has seen the benefits that such a designation can bring, with increased visitor numbers and tourism revenue. A visit to a UNESCO Global Geopark is a guarantee to a visitor that they will experience some of the most stunning and internationally significant natural assets that any destination has to offer.
"This is a significant achievement and I would like to congratulate the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI) who have worked in close partnership with the team at the Marble Arch Caves to secure this award, which will make a substantial contribution to our tourism offering."
The sheer magnificence of it, the grandeur, the attention to the smallest detail, is simply breathtaking. And that’s just the building, completed in 1881. But this was not its first location. The museum was originally part of the British Museum and opened in 1759 in a 17th century mansion in Bloomsbury, the brainchild of physician to the royal family, naturalist and philanthropist Sir Hans Sloane, after whom London’s Sloane Square is named.
It remained part of the British Museum until 1963 when a separate board of trustees was appointed. However, it wasn’t officially renamed the Natural History Museum until 1992. It absorbed the Geological Museum of the British Geological Survey next door, including its collection of more than 30,000 minerals, in 1986. The Darwin Centre opened to the public in 2009 and houses the museum’s scientists. You can watch them at work in open-plan laboratories, where they study everything from the cocoa that Sir Hans brought back from Jamaica in the 17th century to malaria-carrying mosquitoes collected in 2008.
The University of Exeter has received high-level funding for research into accessing the elements needed for a variety of environmental technologies. Two new research programmes, led by or featuring experts from the University's Camborne School of Mines at the Penryn Campus have received significant funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
Professor Wall said: "Our team, from five UK universities and the British Geological Survey, has the diverse skills needed to make a world-leading impact in this area and we are working directly with industry partners who are seeking to develop new mines. Our aim is not just to help new mines open but to enable the highest possible standards in responsible sourcing of these essential elements"
Carbon monoxide is often called the silent killer: invisible and odourless, it is responsible for 40 deaths a year in the UK. But there is a much more prolific killer seeping through homes: radon, a natural radioactive gas, is responsible for 1,100 UK deaths every year from lung cancer, yet its threat is largely unknown or ignored. This week, the UK Radon Association, in collaboration with Public Health England (PHE), has launched a campaign to alert the public to the danger. Radon gas escapes from the Earth's surface constantly and is considered harmless in open air, accounting for half of an average Briton's exposure to radiation. A byproduct of naturally occurring radium and uranium breaking down, radon is problematic only if it gets trapped in poorly ventilated homes, which can happen in areas where geological conditions produce it in higher concentrations. The largest affected areas in the UK are the south-west of England, the Yorkshire Dales and Wales, but there are many other affected swaths, taking in Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Lincoln, the Peak District, much of Northern Ireland, the southern border of Scotland and Aberdeenshire.
So how do you know if you could be affected? The first many people hear of a potential problem is during conveyancing searches when buying a home. But if you are concerned, the initial port of call is the PHE website, ukradon.org. Together with the British Geological Survey, PHE has produced maps showing the likelihood of high radon levels in your home. Living in a high-risk area does not necessarily mean you will have a problem, and testing will, in most cases, provide reassurance. The maps indicate the percentage of houses affected in an area, from a 0-1% chance of a high reading, to above 30%. PHE's advice, says McColl, is that if you have a greater than 1% chance of a high radon level, you should test your home.
The geomagnetic storm was caused by the Sun's coronal holes, which are regions where the star's corona is dark. The high-speed solar wind comes from the coronal hole, according to NASA. This high-speed solar wind helps produce an intense northern lights display. The dramatic display can also be attributed to activity happening on the sun's surface, according to the British Geological Survey. Large explosions on the sun's surface emit huge amounts of charged particles that pour into space and some make their way to Earth. Auroras form when charged particles from the solar winds enter Earth's magnetic field and travel to the planet's poles where the particles collide with atoms of gas in the atmosphere. The collision is what creates the vibrant light displays, which are typically seen in places around the Arctic Circle.
David Galloway, a seismologist for the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, said he had checked all the data recorded for the Evesham area and there was no reading at all for a tremor or earthquake. "If it was something atmospheric, such as a sonic boom or noise from an 'air quake', it is unlikely to be picked up with our equipment even if there was a vibration, rather like the effect a heavy lorry rumbling past your house. I have checked the dateThere was certainly no recorded seismic activity in that area between the times of 7pm and 9pm on that evening."