Petrology collections

BGS Data — National Geological Repository

The BGS’s petrology collections are split between Keyworth and Edinburgh, with Keyworth housing most of the English and Welsh material, and Edinburgh the Scottish material. Several of the collections have been routinely sliced and thin sections prepared.

Photomicrograph of gabbro (hyperite)
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Petrographical (polarising) microscopes can be made available for examination of the thin sections. BGS Petrology Collection sample number UK.BGS.ED895 is shown under crossed-polarised light; the grey crystals are plagioclase and the bright colours pyroxene. This is a sample of gabbro from the Tertiary Central Igneous Complex of Arran, Scotland. BGS © UKRI.

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The petrology collections

  • National sliced rock collection:
    • ‘E’ Collection (England and Wales): approximately 73 000
    • ‘S’ and ‘N’ collections (Scotland): approximately 110 000
  • International sliced rock collection (‘F’ Collection): approximately 10 000 [Keyworth]
  • Museum Reserve (display-quality rocks and minerals): approximately 36 000 [Keyworth], including 136 samples of volcanic rocks from the Galapagos Islands, Réunion and Ascension Island, donated by Charles Darwin in the 1850s
  • Building stones [Keyworth]
  • Miscellaneous collections, including collections made by such geologists as Roderick Murchison, Archibald Geikie and Jethro Teall; also donated collections e.g. the Lindsey and Hall collections [Keyworth] and the Knox collection [Edinburgh]

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

Search the BGS petrology collections database (BRITROCKS)

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 Steven, Senior Records Manager

Telephone: 0131 6500 434

Andrew Morrison, Archivist

Telephone: 0115 936 3247

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