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.



One of the focus areas of this Programme is the feasibility and impact of the development of Marine Renewable Energy by five member states (UK, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and France) which will provide national, local and regional policy makers with accurate information. It is envisaged that the information gathered will help form a coherent, strategic renewable energy policy for the whole Atlantic area. The project is part of the EU Programme INTERREG IVB 2006-2014 Atlantic Area.

GeoVisionary was developed by Virtalis in collaboration with the British Geological Survey (BGS) as specialist software for high-resolution visualisation of spatial data. The initial design goal was to ensure that data sets for large regions, national to sub-continental, could be loaded simultaneously and at full resolution, while allowing real-time interaction with the data in stereoscopic 3D. One of the major advantages GeoVisionary offers over other visualisation software (3 & 4D GIS) is its ability to integrate very large volumes of data from multiple sources, allowing a greater understanding of diverse spatial datasets.



25 August 2015

The tooth was discovered in a spoil heap in a Plymouth garden in 1960 and taken into the museum for identification in the spring of 2013 by its owner, Mr Rickard. Previously nicknamed the ‘Tiger Tooth’ by Mr Rickard’s family, it was quickly identified as belonging to a leopard. What was less clear was where it had originated from. Now joint research between Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and a member of the public has uncovered the truth about the tooth. It was sent to Professor Jane Evans at the British Geological Survey, who tested it for an element called strontium.

The full story behind the discovery has just been published by Jan Freedman and Professor Jane Evans in the online journal Open Quaternary. The full article can be viewed for free at www.openquaternary.com.



25 August 2015

The new web-enabled database, hosted and managed by The Crown Estate and the British Geological Survey (BGS) under licence from the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), is now free to access to all subscribers, a saving on a typical licence of up to £4,000 per year on an individual basis. In addition, the website has been enhanced to help users navigate the wealth of complex data and to set out more clearly information on how key attributes such as storage capacity of geological units have been calculated.

The website and database contain geological data, storage estimates and risk assessments of nearly 600 potential CO2 storage units of depleted oil and gas reservoirs, and saline aquifers around the UK. The Crown Estate manages the CO2 geological storage rights on the UK continental shelf. The UK is potentially well served by offshore CO2 storage and this database enables interested stakeholders to access information enabling more informed decisions related to the roll out of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) infrastructure in the UK as well as to reduce the early stage cost of offshore storage site selection.



21 August 2015

Kabwe is a transport hub and old mining town in central Zambia. One resident, Joseph, recounted how when he was growing up in the town in the 1970s, most houses had a tap and a reliable water supply from the municipal system. Few children in the town now have this luxury; in the 1980’s the world price of copper collapsed and the mines closed. Many of the townspeople could no longer afford their water bills, and the lack of investment led the municipal water system into a spiral of decline. Today, the town continues to grow, in a haphazard way and sanitation is poor – only 11% of low income households have access to a latrine or toilet. Most of the poorer residents get water from shallow wells, and richer households have given up on the unreliable municipal water system and have their own deeper boreholes. But are these self-supply water sources safe? Does the risk change between the wet season and the dry? Is there a safe distance between latrine and well that would prevent the water from being contaminated? These are just a few questions that hard-pressed local government staff need answers to urgently, but they just can’t get data from enough wells and boreholes during the year.

An answer may now be available, for Kabwe, and for water supplies all over Africa and beyond: a team, led by Dan Lapworth, from the British Geological Survey (BGS), along with colleagues from the University of Zambia, University of Surrey and Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company Ltd has been collaborating to develop a new way to measure groundwater pollution. It is a new probe that measures a protein called tryptophan and this was the first study to investigate the biological quality in groundwater using this technique.



19 August 2015

The British Geological Survey announced it was leading a consortium tasked with a baseline environmental survey in Yorkshire, where Third Energy U.K. Gas Ltd. has submitted an application to use hydraulic fracturing at one well site. "It is now widely acknowledged that undertaking baseline monitoring before fracking takes place is essential," Rob Ward, director of groundwater science at the BGS, said in a statement. BGS already started environmental surveys in Lancashire, where shale pioneer Cuadrilla Resources aims to explore for natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, known also as fracking.

Surveys begin at potential British fracking site by Daniel J. Graeber London (UPI) Aug 14, 2015 disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only As the British government looks to kick start the industry, the British Geological Survey said it's conducting baseline surveys at a new proposed fracking site. The British Geological Survey announced it was leading a consortium tasked with a baseline environmental survey in Yorkshire, where Third Energy U.K. Gas Ltd. has submitted an application to use hydraulic fracturing at one well site. "It is now widely acknowledged that undertaking baseline monitoring before fracking takes place is essential," Rob Ward, director of groundwater science at the BGS, said in a statement. BGS already started environmental surveys in Lancashire, where shale pioneer Cuadrilla Resources aims to explore for natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, known also as fracking. On Thursday, the British government said it was calling on local councils to decide on shale permits within 16 weeks of an application. British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd said some applications are "dragged out for months, or even years on end" at a time when the government is working to cut dependency foreign on natural gas. BGS estimated shale basins in the country may hold more than 1.3 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, a level the government said could help an economy with natural gas imports on pace to increase from 45 percent of demand in 2011 to 76 percent by 2030. Shale gas is in its infancy in the country. Environmental groups have expressed reservations about the emergence of shale exploration. BGS in its latest statement said surveys conducted before drilling begins could allay public concerns. "Baseline characterization was not undertaken during the early stages of unconventional oil and gas development in North America and recent scientific study has highlighted that a lack of effective environmental monitoring has led to considerable public concern," it said.



17 August 2015

At least 30 per cent of UK could have suitable geology for the construction of a £12 billion nuclear dump, experts have suggested, as they prepare for a new review to find areas where Britain’s radioactive waste could be buried safely. Ministers have been searching for a permanent burial site for Britain’s nuclear waste for decades but were forced to restart the process after Cumbria – the only area to have expressed an interest in ‘hosting’ the dump – pulled out in 2013. Experts from the British Geological Survey have been tasked with a fresh review of the geology of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, ahead of a renewed appeal to communities to volunteer as potential hosts. The Scottish Government has already ruled out hosting a deep nuclear waste burial site.

Richard Shaw, head of radioactive waste at the BGS, said figures of between 30 per cent and 60 per cent of UK geology being suitable had cited been over past decades.



17 August 2015

The incredible footage shows the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) appearing over Earth's horizon as the sun peeps into view. It was filmed by astronaut Scott Kelly who is currently on the International Space Station. In the clip, which he posted to Twitter, the ISS is clearly visible as it zooms over Earth towards the sunrise.

According to the British Geological Survey (BGS), the Aurora display occurs when explosions on the surface of the Sun launch huge amounts of charged particles into space. Some of those particles are captured in the Earth's magnetic field where they collide with gas molecules in the atmosphere - the energy of which is then given off as light.



16 August 2015

As the British government looks to kick start the industry, the British Geological Survey said it's conducting baseline surveys at a new proposed fracking site. The British Geological Survey announced it was leading a consortium tasked with a baseline environmental survey in Yorkshire, where Third Energy U.K. Gas Ltd. has submitted an application to use hydraulic fracturing at one well site.


14 August 2015

Initial map data showed the surface and the rough position of real geology beneath, repeated down to the bedrock. In reality, the geology varies with depth, like cake layers. Two-dimensional and 3D modelling geology is a helpful tool for geophysics and petroleum geology and mineral applications, used in the exploration and development phase of the oil and gas industry. In July, BGS took another step into the world of Minecraft by creating three-dimensional representations of geology at locations across the UK. They show how the geology rises and falls, overlaps and folds at different depths. You are now able to see the rocks beneath north London, the soils that were deposited by ancient glaciers in York and how the ground is dissected by faults beneath the hilly slopes of Ingleborough.

The Minecraft team at BGS used the freely available 3D geological models to convert the true richness of the subterranean landscape into coloured glass Minecraft blocks. The translucency of the blocks enables the player to see through the different geological units, which allows for a better understanding of how the layers of geology are arranged. To play along, you need a licenced copy of Minecraft, 6 GB of free disk space (the world is approximately 5.4 GB) and more than 4 GB of RAM. The starting point of the Minecraft world begins at the BGS Cardiff office - sign posts around you will help you get started exploring. Prof Iain Stewart, Professor of Geosciences Communication at Plymouth University tested the Minecraft 3D mod at the BGS Open Day, “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.”



6 August 2015

The University of Birmingham has recognised the importance of cold and the opportunity it presents. It has begun a major commission that's pulling together academics, industry leaders and policy makers to establish a road map of how cold technologies can be developed and integrated into efficient systems. This work will enable the UK to extend its leadership in the cold economy. But will Britain learn from the internet? Will it grasp the opportunity? Or will it allow others to take pre-eminence, only realising the importance of an emerging industry in hindsight? Encouragingly, there is evidence that lessons have been learned and it could translate early promise into global leadership. Most importantly, the UK government has announced support for ERA - the Energy Research Accelerator - a multimillion-pound collaboration between six universities and the British Geological Survey that will deliver a step-change in energy research. If the government backs ERA, as the Chancellor indicated it would, then the effect could be profound. ERA will energise research, helping the UK to create ground-breaking solutions to global problems of resource efficiency and energy wastage. It will also lead R&D into advanced manufacturing, enabling the UK to not only innovate, but create market-ready technologies at a price the world can afford. ERA will enable the UK to turn good ideas into valuable products and create jobs. Within the remit of ERA, cold has specifically been recognised. The Thermal Energy Research Accelerator (T-ERA) will support the development, integration and manufacturing of innovative cooling technologies. T-ERA will be at the forefront of the movement to 'do cold smarter'. It's no coincidence that novel technologies



5 August 2015