Material from the 500 m-deep borehole will provide scientists on the TW:eed project with details of the entire rock record in which these new fossils have been found.
The core will act as a timeline on which to pin the fossil finds and allow scientists to (literally) unearth the evolutionary relationships among these early tetrapods and find out how they developed into modern forms.
Drilling began on 8 April 2013 and marked a major step in this ground-breaking scientific research project.Download the full Press Release
New work published today, by scientists from the British Geological Survey (BGS), shows how the very rapid retreat of Iceland's glaciers during the last 10 years – unprecedented in over 80 years of measurements - is due to a combination of interlinked processes driven by warmer summers.
BGS scientists have been monitoring a retreating glacier in south-east Iceland for over 15 years, making detailed measurements of its health and the dramatic changes currently occurring.
In the last five years, its health has noticeably deteriorated: the front of the glacier has retreated at a rate of around 40 m per year, or almost 200 m in total since 2007.
The new work not only identifies these recent rapid changes but suggests that this accelerated retreat is due to more than a decade of warmer than average summers.
These warm summers have caused enhanced glacial thinning and ice stagnation resulting in a new, more unusual (and more rapid) style of glacier retreat by ice margin collapse.
Download the full Press Release or the Boreas open-access paper: Recent, very rapid retreat of a temperate glacier in SE Iceland
Mike is presently Head of Energy Science at the British Geological Survey and Deputy Director of the Nottingham Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage. He holds a PhD and MSc in Earth Science and has visiting Professorships at the Universities of Nottingham and Leicester. His main expertise is palynology and stratigraphy applied to petroleum geology and past climate change. Following his degree from Imperial College, Mike worked as a school teacher in Botswana for 10 years. He then completed an MSc and PhD at the University of Sheffield. He joined BGS in 1999 and became Head of Energy Science in 2008. He has represented BGS at Government level and regularly speaks on the national stage on energy issues including carbon capture and storage (CCS) and UK and world-wide shale gas resources.
The Rt Hon David Willetts MP will be at the British Geological Survey’s Nottingham headquarters on 27 February 2013, to officially open the new National Geological Repository (NGR).
The National Geological Repository (NGR) is the UK’s largest collection of information and samples gathered from and beneath the earth’s surface. It houses enough drill core to stretch between London and Edinburgh (over 500 kilometres) and cuttings from over 23 000 wells and boreholes. There are over three million fossil specimens from the UK, which chart the evolution of life from over 600 million years ago. The NGR also includes the library, which holds over 500 000 books and reports.
The NGR was created following the extension of the British Geological Survey’s (BGS) core store in order to house the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) oil and gas cores that were relocated from Gilmerton during 2011–12. This facility now means that the majority of the BGS holdings are in one place, where they can be fully exploited in the specialist examination facilities and technical laboratories.
The £300 000 project will be led by global engineering and construction company Foster Wheeler, in collaboration with the British Geological Survey.
The five-month-long project will assess the economics of flexible power generation systems which involve the production of hydrogen from coal, biomass or natural gas, its intermediate storage (for example, in underground salt caverns) and production of power in flexible turbines.
The ETI commissioned and funded project will look to map suitable hydrogen storage salt cavern sites in and around the UK. The sites, which tend to be located inland or up to 25 miles off the UK coastline, will need to be of sufficient size, depth, location and quality before they can be considered for hydrogen storage.
Download the full ETI Press Release
The Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet is one of the most rapidly warming areas of the planet. This is causing concern as it contains enough water to raise global sea levels by 5m. By analysing the chemistry of microscopic marine algae that lived in the ocean surrounding Antarctica, scientists have created a record of the amount of melting of the ice sheet that stretches back 12,000 years. This window through time has already unlocked hidden patterns in our past climate.
This is the first freely available screening tool to cover the whole of England and Wales. GSHPs can provide an energy-efficient, low-carbon alternative to traditional heating/ cooling systems.
The British Geological Survey has developed this tool, in partnership with the Environment Agency, to encourage the uptake of open-loop GSHP technology in suitable areas.
Users can zoom and click on the map, type in a postcode or a place name to identify their location. The map shows whether the location is likely to be favourable or less favourable for an open-loop GSHP scheme.
A pop-up table and maps provide more information about the different factors affecting the outcome, including whether an aquifer is present beneath the site and the size of licensed groundwater abstractions in the vicinity.
More than 10 national datasets which influence the feasibility of large open-loop GSHP schemes have been incorporated into the web-based GIS tool.
The interactive exhibits will include a brand new 2708 gallon pool that will allow visitors to pilot an underwater ‘Remotely Operated Vehicle’ (ROV) and discover hidden treasures at the bottom of the deep blue ‘ocean’. Marine Geoscientists will be on hand to guide children and adults alike through the mysteries of this underwater environment.
Also on display will be a collection of 400 million year old fossil fish rescued from paving slabs on East Market Street, Edinburgh. These fish would have thrived in sub-equatorial lakes (at about the same latitude that South Africa occupies today). Some of our pavement specimens are up to 60cm in size.
Many people find it counterintuitive that underground temperatures as low as 10°C degrees are sufficient to keep our homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Which parts of the UK are best for GSHPs?
Is the ground warmer in some places and cooler in others?
The British Geological Survey (BGS) has been carrying out a range of research across the UK to answer some of these questions.
It’s a fact that most rock types are suitable for GSHP technology, although some are better than others, for example, sandstone has a much higher thermal conductivity than gravel. The ground retains its heat so that at even very shallow depths of a few metres the seasonal temperature swing is far less than the air temperature. So even though southern areas are warmer than northern areas, ground source heat pumps can be used anywhere to heat your home.
The BGS has been carrying out research across the Glasgow area, and has produced 3D models of the underground that are amongst the most ambitious and detailed of their kind for any city in the world. These models can be used to help identify, and provide access to a reservoir of heat energy that exists beneath Glasgow, focusing on waters in abandoned and flooded mines. This could meet some of the city’s needs for many years to come and there is potential for other cities to do likewise both in the UK and further afield.
Seen from space our Sun is a variable and dynamic star, very different from its placid day-to-day appearance from Earth. Eruptions from the surface of the Sun, known as coronal mass ejections (CME’s), can cause real problems as they collide with the geomagnetic field surrounding the Earth. CME’s result in geomagnetic storms that have the potential to disrupt ground and space technologies, such as electricity transmission, communications and satellites.
The spectacular Northern Lights (aurora borealis) are also a consequence of space weather and CMEs. The Northern Lights usually occur when energy from the solar wind accelerates electrically charged particles towards the Earth’s polar atmosphere, but CME’s boost this process. If the CME’s are strong enough and the magnetic fields they contain point in the right direction this interaction can be very strong. If this happens we have a much greater chance of seeing the aurora further south than is usual. In the past few months, with solar activity increasing the aurora have been spotted in central Scotland and as far south as Lincolnshire, England.
The Russian Geological Research Institute (VSEGEI) launched the map data at the 34th International Geological Congress (IGC), in Brisbane, Australia, in August 2012. This is the first digital geological map of the whole of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and neighbouring countries the maps can be viewed via OneGeology.
Download the full Press Release
Are we in for a summer of cracked buildings? It all depends on the weather. Research from the British Geological Survey (BGS) has highlighted the importance of rainfall and temperature on the incidence of clay shrink-swell, a precursor to subsidence, in the UK. For many, the cool, wet conditions we have experienced so far this summer may be just what is needed to keep their house in order.
New research by the BGS - published this week in the Proceedings of the Geologists Association - suggests that the low rainfall of the last 2 years has increased the susceptibility of buildings to subsidence due to clay 'shrink-swell' . The research takes into account the effect of rainfall and temperature, and despite the very wet weather experienced since April, there is still an increased potential for clay soils to shrink and swell this year. If this occurs, it is likely to lead to an increase in subsidence.
Scientists have produced a new free map app of the soils of Great Britain. The app, mySoil, also enables the general public to upload information about the soil where they live, helping to improve our knowledge about the properties of soils and the vegetation habitats that they provide.
Using mySoil you can view a map of soil parent material - the underlying geological material - click on an area to get information about soil depth, texture, pH and organic matter content, and explore vegetation habitat data across the UK.
mySoil, produced by the NERC British Geological Survey (BGS) and the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), was launched at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival on 14 June 2012.
mySoil, for iPhones and iPads, is for anyone with an interest in the soil of Great Britain, including allotment owners, farmers and agricultural specialists, gardeners, schools and college students, environmentalists and land use planners. We encourage land users, especially in cities, to send us descriptions and pictures of their soil. The public can play a big role in contributing to soil science data, for urban areas in particular, where the data is limited.