Baselines

View of the Clyde

The natural environment is under ever increasing pressure from the impacts of pollution. Quantifying these impacts is a necessary prerequisite for understanding, mitigation and regulation. Establishing the natural, or baseline, condition of environmental media is the first step in understanding the scale of pollutant impacts as it provides a datum against which changes imposed by pollutant inputs can be measured. The natural variation in chemistry of environmental media – water, sediment, soil – is large, and processes controlling the variation are complex.

BGS has a long history of research in establishing the baseline chemistry of diverse environmental media, particularly stream sediments, stream waters, groundwaters and soils. This research has been underpinned by the BGS laboratory facilities which provide high-quality analyses of geochemical and hydrogeochemical properties using a broad range of modern analytical techniques.

Selected research

Groundwater abstracted from the Chalk aquifer of south-east EnglandBaseline quality of groundwater from aquifers in England, Wales and Scotland

Investigations of the natural baseline chemistry of groundwater, latest investigations in the Palaeogene aquifer of the London Basin, Magnesian Limestone of north-east England, Precambrian of Aberdeenshire and Permo-Triassic Sandstone of the Moray Basin.


Soil sample collection at Tinto, LanarkshireG-BASE: Geochemical Baseline Survey of the Environment

Latest geochemical surveys carried out in the Clyde Basin and investigation of urban soils in the London Earth initiative.


Oak leafTerrestrial Carbon Tracers

Research into characterisation of lignin, tannin and suberin in British estuarine environments.