Geophysical baselines

Geophysical Baselines

Distribution of the artificial radionuclide Caesium-137 across Northern Ireland and part of south-west Scotland.

The image shows a compilation of magnetic survey data .The processing has been tuned to show the regional extent of the shallow dyke swarms of the North Atlantic igneous province.

The project undertakes the maintenance and delivery of non-seismic UK geophysical data together with relevant research on geoscientific, environmental and resource applications.

The project acquires and interprets high resolution airborne geophysical survey data and works on the knowledge base of 3D geophysical properties of the UK’s subsurface environment from shallow soils to the deep crust thereby contributing to the knowledge requirements of NERC.

The framework for the work is the NERC’s National Capability component of the current strategy.

Our capabilities in this area are linked to the acquisition of modern high resolution airborne geophysical data (HiRES) such as magnetic, radiometric and electromagnetic data.

The work on our interpretations of these data is reported in BGS internal reports and external publications such as those available in the NERC Open Research Archive.

Recent examples include the detection and description of the artificial radionucleide 137Cs across northern areas of the UK.

The work is aligned the NERC Strategic Objective 10 (Environment, pollution and human Health).

Recent work on investigating major volcanic episodes is aligned with the current NERC Earth Science strategy to develop a deep understanding of the reasons for the uniqueness of the Earth. The work provides improved knowledge and understanding of the controls on subduction and mantle convection, melting and volcanism.

Environmental baseline information

Modern geophysical baseline data is sampled at a high spatial resolution and can be used in a variety of environmental and land-use assessments.

The various datasets are used to characterise both surface and subsurface features of significance to geological, hydrogeological and environmental processes and studies.

Current and historical industrial activities have influenced the near-surface in a variety of ways. The baseline data can reveal a range of such effects.

Leachate and its migration from landfills has been studied in some detail.

The influence of waste products from manufacturing can also be traced. In some cases the influence can be traced several kilometres from likely source locations.

At surface environmental and ecologic studies benefit from geophysical characterisation.

Airborne data sets are continuous across the intertidal zone and the radiometric and electromagnetic data are used in salt marsh and wetlands areas to characterise the degree of water saturation and areas of salt or lacustrine clay accumulations.


For further information contact enquiries.