BGS GeoSure: running sand

BGS Datasets

Key information

1:50 000
Great Britain
GIS polygon data (ESRI, MapInfo, others available by request)

£0.21 per km2. Subject to number of users, licence fee and data preparation fee.

Local-level use

Get data

Free access

Our free data is available under the Open Government Licence. Please acknowledge reproduced BGS materials.

Sample maps
Supporting documents

Some rocks can contain loosely packed, sandy layers that can become fluidised by water flowing through them. Such sands can ‘run’, removing support from overlying buildings and causing potential damage.

Information icon

Watch the quicksand developing as the sand grains can no longer remain in their original horizontal layers. BGS © UKRI.

Running sand hazards can occur in various situations, for example:

  • where excavations in sand go below the water table
  • where springs occur at the base of sand outcrops
  • around leaking drains or mains water supply pipes
  • in entire sand bodies if vibrated (liquefaction) for example, by an earthquake

A property affected by running sand may experience the following problems:

  • access paths and roads may be broken and disrupted
  • service connections to water, gas and electricity supplies may break
  • structural damage to foundations and to the fabric of the building if uneven sinking occurs under the foundations

The potential for running sand to be a hazard has been assessed using 1:50 000-scale digital maps of superficial and bedrock deposits. These have been combined with information from scientific and engineering reports. The detailed digital data illustrated in the map are available as attributed vector polygons, as raster grids and in spreadsheet format.

You may also be interested in

BGS Geology 250k sample


We have a wide range of licensed geoscience data. The datasets range from the geological data family (BGS Geology) to offshore data, ground stability datasets and 3D models.

Show more
Geosure sample

BGS GeoSure

The BGS GeoSure datasets identify areas of potential hazard and, therefore, potential natural ground movement, in Great Britain.

Show more
Running sand

Running sand: property hazard information

Some rocks contain loosely-packed sandy layers that can become fluidised by water flowing through them. This can cause potential damage.

Show more

Was this page helpful?

  • How can we make this section better?*

  • Please select a reason*

  • How can we make this section better?*