The British Geological Survey took to the air on 20 November 2009 in the aftermath of the flooding, which devastated homes and businesses in the North West England and South West Scotland, to find out how modern flooding compares to ancient flood areas. BGS photographer Fergus MacTaggart observed flooding from 600m (2000 ft) as he flew over the worst affected areas around Cockermouth and Workington.
Areas which have been flooded in the past have deposits of clay, silt and sand left by the flood water. These areas are called floodplains and coastal plains and can be extracted from geological maps. They indicate areas with a potential to flood in the future.