Inorganic geochemistry reference materials

BGS Science Facilities — Centre for Environmental Geochemistry

Preparation of reference materials at the BGS

The British Geological Survey has a longstanding track record of producing reference materials to be used for routine quality monitoring across a number of sectors, and in producing homogeneous materials for geological, soil and contaminated land proficiency testing schemes. We can homogenise and prepare representative subsample portions from a variety of geological and environmental materials in quantities from ~1 kg to ~250 kg.

For more information on this service, please contact us at

Reference materials for sale

We currently have a range of sixteen reference materials available for sale. Reference soils BGS110 to BGS119 each have data sheets containing reference and information values for 64 elements. They are intended for use as quality control samples for the determination of total elemental concentrations in soils, and contain a wide range of soil chemistry and elemental concentrations to cater for different analytical needs, interests and industries, e.g. agriculture, geochemical exploration, and contaminated land management.

BGS102 Ironstone Soil is suitable for use in bioaccessibility testing, with whole soil concentration data reported for 13 elements and bioaccessibility data for As and Pb. Additional non-validated bioaccessibility data for a wide range of elements is available in: Hamilton et al., 2015. Microchemical Journal, 123. 131-138.

We also offer five mineral reference materials, IGS 27, IGS 29, IGS 32, IGS 35 and IGS 39.

Data sheets for individual reference materials can be accessed via links in the table below, which also provides details of approximate sample weight and pricing.

How to purchase reference materials

For purchasing, and more information on the reference materials, please contact the inorganic geochemistry team with details of the specific reference materials of interest to you.  A quotation for supply will be provided, incorporating packing/postage charges (detailed below). On approval of the quotation, you will be contacted regarding payment options. These items cannot be ordered and paid for directly from the online BGS shop.

Packing/postage is added as follows:

  • Tracked UK delivery: £15.00
  • Tracked European delivery: £25.00
  • Tracked worldwide delivery: £35.00

All prices quoted exclude VAT at the applicable rate.

Sterilised samples of BGS110 to BGS119 (by gamma irradiation of at least 50 kGy) are available on request for supply to countries outside of the UK.

BGS reference material details

Name Description Weight (g) Price (£)
BGS102Ironstone soil100100
BGS110Till with granitic content4080
BGS111Silty clay soil overlying serpentinite3880
BGS112Sandy granitic till overlying granite4380
BGS113Silty clay soil overlying clastic metasediments3880
BGS114Silty soil overlying clastic metasediments4180
BGS115Silty/peaty soil overlying limestone2480
BGS116Silty soil overlying limestone4380
BGS117Silty soil overlying sandstone4180
BGS118Silty soil overlying shale3880
BGS119Soil with industrial contamination (<250 μm)2680
BGS120Temperate clay loam soil5855
BGS121Temperate sandy clay loam soil9590
BGS122Temperate sandy loam soil9590
BGS123Temperate organic-rich soil9590
BGS124Temperate clay loam soil9590
BGS125Tropical iron rich clay loam soil9590
BGS126Tropical iron rich clay loam soil9590
IGS 27Molybdenum-tungsten (Mo-W) ore6535
IGS 29Pyrolusite4035
IGS 32Rutile4535
IGS 35Zircon5035
IGS 39Fluorite5535


For purchasing and more information on the reference materials, please contact the inorganic geochemistry team.

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