Borehole core collections

BGS Data – National Geological Repository

The BGS collection of continuous borehole core, broken core, cuttings, etc. are held at Keyworth. The hydrogeological materials collection, which includes core and borehole material, is housed at Wallingford.

Permian sandstone/breccia core sample
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Close-up of Permian sandstone/breccia core sample from a groundwater exploration borehole at Granton, Moffat. Source: BGS © UKRI – P001427

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  • Onshore borehole materials collection (including hydrocarbon wells). Approximately 250 km of core, plus about 150 km of drilling represented by cuttings. Samples are held from about 15000 boreholes. Borehole names and positions may be determined from GeoIndex and the Borehole Materials Database.
  • UKCS (offshore) hydrocarbon well samples. BGS manages the national collection of hydrocarbon well samples. The collection consists of core and cuttings for all wells drilled for hydrocarbon exploration in UK waters was transferred from the Gilmerton store, Edinburgh to Keyworth during 2011–12.
  • Offshore (non-hydrocarbon) material: cores, vibrocores, gravity cores, grab samples, etc. There are about 12 000m of core and 15 000 seabed samples. Core positions are available on the Offshore Geoindex.
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Civil Hydrography Programme (CHP) seabed samples. Material from samples that are routinely collected from the seabed during Civil Hydrography Programme (CHP) Hydrographic Instruction (HI) surveys.
  • Nirex Geological Archive. The Nirex geological archive was transferred from Nirex to the British Geological Survey (BGS) during 2000/2001. The archive consists of borehole cores and samples, thin and polished sections, digital data and paper records acquired by Nirex during its investigations at Sellafield and Dounreay.

Specimens are available for study at Keyworth and a loan system is available to accredited scientists.

Download the borehole material regulations and booking form.

Search our borehole core collections

Use the links below to access our onshore borehole and offshore hydrocarbon wells database

Get in touch

For general NGR enquiries or to arrange a visit, please contact: or 0115 936 3143

Dr Mike Howe, Chief Curator

Telephone: 0115 936 3105

Alison Fernie, Senior Records Manager

Telephone: 0131 6500 434

Andrew Morrison, Archivist

Telephone: 0115 936 3247

Sue Roper, Geo-Information Collections Co-ordinator

Telephone: 0115 936 3127


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BGS core store

National Geological Repository

The National Geological Repository holds our collections of borehole cores, cuttings, samples, specimens, and related subsurface information from the UK landmass and continental shelf.

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