Michael presented aspects of his PhD work in the North West Highlands of Scotland: Cross-strike Discontinuities: The development of the Loch Maree Transverse Zone. His paper was complimented with a poster that examined his development of A new method for analyzing cross-strike discontinuities (CSDs) and transverse zones in Displacement Vector Analysis. This new method is derived from Michael's work in Scotland, Cantabria in Spain, and in the Appalachian Thrust Belt, USA.
This research is a spin-off from BGS work on the classic Moine Thrust Belt. Michael adopted BGS digital mapping methodologies (SIGMA) and is now modelling the transverse Loch Maree sector of the Moine Thrust Belt in 3D. The research is jointly supervised and funded by BGS's BUFI (Dr G Leslie) and Keele University (Dr Stuart Clarke and Prof. Graham Williams).
During November 2011 Dr Kathryn Goodenough, a senior geologist at BGS, took part in the Royal Society Scientist: Civil Servant Pairing Scheme. Kathryn was paired with Beverley Okoye, a Policy Adviser from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS); both have interests in developing international scientific research and collaboration.
Several Pairing Scheme scientists spent a 'week in Westminster' that included tours of the Houses of Parliament, talks from the leaders of the various parliamentary science groups including the Chief Scientific Advisor and interactive sessions on scientific advice in emergencies.
Beverley Okoye made a reciprocal visit to BGS HQ at Keyworth, meeting the BGS international team and discussing how further collaboration between BGS and BIS could be mutually beneficial.
The UK Government aims to promote and strengthen UK scientific expertise, innovation and collaboration worldwide, and is thus supportive of the BGS as a world leader in research and delivery of applied geoscience across the globe.
BGS geologists presented their latest research on critical metals at the Geores 2011 Scottish Minerals meeting at Murchison House, in Edinburgh on Tuesday 15 November.
The EU and the UK are heavily dependent on imports of many metals. Some of these, which are economically important and yet potentially vulnerable to supply disruption, are termed ‘critical metals’. These include the rare earth elements, the platinum group metals, cobalt and tungsten all of which are being used in increasing amounts globally. They are particularly important in a range of emerging technologies, such as clean energy where they are used in wind turbines, electric vehicles and photovoltaics.
There are no economic deposits of critical metals known in Scotland at present. However, there are indications in several areas that resources of some of these metals might exist. For example, high concentrations of rare earths have been identified in rock samples near Tongue in Sutherland and of platinum-group metals in Shetland and Aberdeenshire.
BGS Principal Economic Geologist, Gus Gunn, said: 'BGS is currently undertaking research to understand the processes responsible for the rare earth enrichments in Sutherland, although considerable further work would be required to identify any economic deposits of critical metals in Scotland.'
More about Geores 2011
The BGS has won a contract from Defra (SP1008) to determine the typical background concentrations of contaminants in soils.The Background Concentrations of Contaminants in Soils (BCCS) Project will use the significant soil chemistry data sets that are now available from England for rural and urban areas to determine 'normal' soil concentrations for contaminants. The 60 000 BGS G-BASE soil samples will form an important part of this project. The work is part of the process to simplify the contaminated land statutory guidance which supports Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. As part of this project a definition of a contaminant's normal background concentration in soil will be developed to help to more clearly define soils that are not contaminated land in the legal sense, and help focus resources on dealing with land that may pose a significant environmental and health risk. The project started in November 2011 and will last for six months.
As part of the process to evaluate a potential potash deposit in North Yorkshire, the BGS has been contracted by York Potash Ltd, a part of Sirius Minerals Plc to characterise core material recovered from a series of six exploration boreholes.
Potash provides a critical source of potassium for fertilizers which are increasingly in demand to boost crop yields and resistance to disease to satisfy the escalating world population.
Sirius Minerals holds various onshore and offshore mineral rights agreements covering 621  km2 between the towns of Whitby and Scarborough. Based on an analysis of existing data, a JORC Exploration Target1 of between 3.3 and 6 billion tonnes of 67% to 94% polyhalite (19% to 27% K2SO4) has been established for the currently contracted area. Likewise, a JORC Exploration Target of between 330 and 400 million tonnes of 35% to 40% potassium chloride (KCl) has also been established for the project.
The boreholes are planned to intersect the Permian evaporite sequence at depths between 1150 and 1700 m, and three potash-bearing horizons in particular: the Sneaton Potash Seam, the Boulby Potash Seam and the Fordon Polyhalite Seam. The polyhalite is the primary target of the exploration and the two potash horizons are secondary targets.
BGS was contracted to carry out the work on the basis of its expertise, reputation and impartiality and that it could offer the full range of required core curation, inspection and photography facilities as well as state-of-the art mineralogical and geochemical analyses at its Keyworth headquarters.
1 The JORC Exploration Target estimates of quantity and grade are conceptual in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to define a Mineral Resource on the property and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in discovery of a Mineral Resource on the property. The estimates are not a Reserve or Resource statement in accordance with an AIM recognised Standard and should not therefore be relied upon as such.
Prospect, the union for over 34 000 engineering and science specialists in government and the private sector have organised the first ever union-led competition at WorldSkills London 2011 event this week at the ExCel Centre in London.
Prospect has worked with a range of partners, including members at the British Geological Survey, and supported by WorldSkills UK, to devise an environmental science competition.
Five teams from the UK and one from the Netherlands will have to: design a sustainable energy solution for an island community build a renewable energy generator and present a report to judges justifying their solution and winning over members of the local community.
On 22 September 2011, CCS TLM Limited and The National Centre for CCS (NCCCS) launched an academy to offer training courses in the vital new area of carbon capture and storage.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between CCS TLM Limited and NCCCS to develop and jointly run a series of short (2-3 day) training courses aimed at improving knowledge and understanding of the CCS business across all CCS stakeholders. These courses will give delegates access to a CCS TLM team with extensive experience and capabilities in the technical, commercial and financing aspects of large-scale fully integrated CCS projects combined with the NCCCS that brings together the expertise and talents of geologists from the British Geological Survey and capture and pipeline engineers from the University of Nottingham.
The courses on offer from the Academy will be targeted at personnel in industry and other key stakeholders who will likely be involved in CCS in the future, or those who need to have a technical overview about CCS but are not able to undertake lengthy periods of training.
More about the CCS TLM Academy
iGeology was voted best Community Favourite Mobile App at the ESRI International User Conference in July 2011.
Since its launch in late 2010, iGeology has been downloaded over 60 000 times from 56 countries and was iTunes No. 1 free education App in September 2010.
The award, presented to the lead developer Wayne Shelley by Jack Dangermond, CEO and founder of ESRI, was in recognition of the innovative approach used in the design of the iGeology App.
iGeology also picked up the ESRI award for the third best App in the Storytelling with Maps Competition.More about the ESRI Best App award
Professor John Ludden, Executive Director of the British Geological Survey, was awarded a Doctor of Science honorary degree by the University of Birmingham on 19 July 2011.
John's long list of achievements include: assistant professor in the Geology Department of the University of Montreal; Canadian Association of Geologists 'Outstanding Scientist' for 1995; Associate Professor of Geosciences, Rennes, France; Director of Petrology and Geochemistry Research at CNRS; Associate Director for Earth Sciences at CNRS; Visiting Professor of Earth Sciences at Oxford University; Visiting Professor of Geology at University of Leicester; President of the European Geosciences Union; Council Member of the Geological Society; member of Academia Europaea; and he has also compiled and published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers and 50 book chapters.
Other notable graduates were Manchester United's Chief Executive and the BBC Director of Sport.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the British Geological Survey have produced a new radon map of Scotland using the latest digital mapping techniques.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that seeps up from the ground and is the second largest cause of lung cancer in the UK.
In 2009 the HPA produced a radon map of Scotland, charting areas most likely to be affected by the gas, based on measurements in homes. Since then HPA staff have worked closely with the British Geological Survey to produce a more accurate map.
The new technique has led HPA scientists to estimate that between 2000 and 5000 homes in Scotland could have radon concentrations above the radon action level where work would be recommended to protect occupants - a rise on the numbers predicted in the 2009 map.
A new free Indicative Atlas of Radon in Scotland report has also been published that shows the highest radon potential in each 1-kilometre grid square of Scotland. However, the Radon Potential Dataset, which defines radon affected areas in Scotland, includes much more detail than shown in the atlas and is available under licence from the BGS.
The data is also being incorporated into the reports of BGS external partners in the property related environmental information and digital mapping industry. Please contact the BGS Enquiries for more information.
Four BGS authors were each awarded a Jubilee Medal of the Geological Society of South Africa (2010) for their work on The geology and geochemistry of the East African Orogen in Northeastern Mozambique. The medal is awarded for the best paper to appear in the South African Journal of Geology each year.
BGS geologists, Bob Thomas, Roger Key, Richard Smith and Louise Hollick co-authored the paper that publishes results of a 5-year-project to make new geological maps of NE Mozambique. The project, funded by Nordic Development Fund and the World Bank, was undertaken by a consortium including the Norwegian Geological Survey (NGU) and the BGS, in collaboration with the National Directorate of Geology of Mozambique; the project ran from 2002 to 2007.
The work involved many months of fieldwork, followed by comprehensive analytical work and map compilation in Norway, the UK and Mozambique.
The 1:250 000 scale geological maps produced from the project formed the basis for a new 1:1 000 000-scale geological map of Mozambique, which was published in 2011.
The BGS received a Highly Commended award for iGeology at the Esri UK 2011 GIS Vision Awards.
The award was presented to Wayne Shelley, lead developer, for the free App that offers geological maps at 1:50 000 scale.
iGeology, available for iPhone and Android smartphones, lets you take a geological map of Britain with you wherever you go.
More about the Esri UK 2011 GIS Vision Awards
BGS, as part of the European CO2GeoNet Association, has joined CGS Europe - a three-year EC FP7 programme Coordination Action on geological storage of CO2. The project, launched in November 2010, is based on networking between 34 research institutes, all with CO2 storage research experience, and offers a wide European coverage across 24 EU Member States and four Associated countries.
It aims to establish a credible, independent, long-lasting and representative pan-European scientific body of expertise on CO2 geological storage. This will build on the sound nucleus of the CO2GeoNet of which BGS is a founder member, and will be helped by the fact that the CGS Europe consortium includes key geoscientific institutions from the existing CO2NET EAST and ENeRG networks, as well as additional institutes from EuroGeoSurveys.
More about BGS joins pan European 'CGS Europe'
The following preliminary information is available for this earthquake:
DATE: 11 May 2011
ORIGIN TIME: 16:47 26 UTC
LAT/LON: 37.65º North / 1.76º West
DEPTH: 10.0 km
MAGNITUDE: 5.2 Mw
LOCALITY: 66 km SW Murcia, 6 km SW Lorca
At least 10 people have been killed and many more injured by falling debris from buildings in the town of Lorca in the Spanish region of Murcia. Unfortunately, the streets were busy at the time with many people returning from places of work. This earthquake followed a smaller 4.5 event just under two hours before. There has since been a small series of aftershocks with magnitudes up to 4.1.
More about the south-east Spain seismic alert
Groundwater scientists in BGS are watching groundwater levels across the country closely. A relatively dry winter and a very dry early spring in many parts of the UK mean that groundwater levels are low in some areas.But will there be a drought? And why is understanding our groundwater resource so important?
More about Will there be a drought in 2011?
On 15 April 2011 a six-person delegation from the China Earthquake Administration (CEA), led by the CEA's Vice Administrator, Mr. Liu Yuchen, visited BGS Edinburgh to extend the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between BGS and CEA agreed in 2007.
The 2007 MoU identified several areas of common interest between BGS and CEA, including earthquake seismology, seismic risk reduction and earthquake engineering. The MoU extension, signed by Mr Liu and the BGS Executive Director, Prof. John Ludden, reaffirmed the value each organisation places on bilateral cooperation in these and other areas.
A joint workshop was held in Beijing in September 2009 and the visit to Edinburgh allowed both sides to describe their latest work and ideas, and to explore areas for further collaboration.
After two years of hard work the GSI3D team is extremely proud to announce the 2011 version of GSI3D. Download a demo version from gsi3d.org.uk/downloads
The software will start in demonstrator mode which allows the construction of models with up to five geological units and ten cross-sections. It is also possible to apply for a fully functional trial version of GSI3D by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
This new release includes major improvements to the user interface including:
For more details on these improvements please refer to the
Quick Reference Guide.pdf 365 KB pdf
Updated 2011 user manual: GSI3D_manual_2011.pdf 8.5 MB pdf
The team hopes that you will all enjoy the new release as much as us, please send any feedback to email@example.com.
The following preliminary information is available for this event:
Date: April 01, 2011
Lat./Lon.: 53.843 -2.990
National Grid: 334.9 km E, 439.0 km N
The following preliminary information is available for this event:
DATE : 29 March 2011
ORIGIN TIME : 11:13:07.5s UTC
LAT/LON : 57.412° North / 4.339 ° West
GRID REF : 259.5 kmE / 838.1 kmN
MAGNITUDE : 2.4 ML
LOCALITY : Approx 10km SW of Inverness near north end of Loch Ness
INTENSITY: 3 EMS
Latest reports indicate that more than 65 people have been killed and at least 111 others injured. The number of casualties is expected to rise as news from the more remote areas is received.
Two aftershocks, with magnitudes of 4.8 and 5.4 were recorded within two hours of the main event.