Applied geochemistry

BGS Research

Geochemistry is the study of the chemistry of geological materials such as rock, sediment, soil and water. Information on the composition of these materials helps us to:

  • understand geological processes
  • manage and sustainably develop our natural resources, including critical minerals, land, soil, water, agricultural and ecosystem assets
  • protect our environment through monitoring pollution and environmental change
  • underpin scientific studies into possible impacts of environmental factors on human and ecosystem health

Geochemistry at the BGS

Since the 1960s, the BGS has amassed considerable geochemical data holdings and developed significant expertise in applied geochemistry, including:

  • design and implementation of geochemical studies
  • sample laboratory analysis
  • management, presentation and interpretation of geochemical data

Based on this expertise, we have played a leading role in the development of geochemistry study methods both in the UK and internationally.

Our research


UK geochemical baselines

BGS and the GSNI have carried out two major projects to examine the chemical composition of stream sediment, stream water and soil samples.

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A handheld monitoring device is being pressed against a pile of soil and gravel

Medical geology

Medical geology is the study of the relationships between geoenvironmental factors and the health of plants, animals and humans.

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International geochemistry

BGS has had a long history of collaborative international geochemical projects involving regional baseline mapping and health and environment studies.

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Centre for Environmental Geochemistry

The Centre for Environmental Geochemistry focuses on the use of geochemistry in research, training and teaching.

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Groundwater quality

The quality of groundwater determines its value as a resource and its impact on surface water ecosystems. BGS researches all aspects of groundwater quality.

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Minerals Geochemistry

Information concerning the UK minerals industry; including planning, building stones, mines and quarries, commodities and statistics (UK, Europe and worldwide), exploration and sustainability.

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Marine Geochemistry

Overview of BGS offshore geochemistry data holdings and availability.

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