G-BASE: environmental geochemistry

BGS Research — Applied geochemistry

In addition to expertise in geochemical mapping, BGS geochemists are involved in numerous activities and research that relate to the collection of geochemical samples, the use of geochemical baseline data and the interpretation of those as part of a wide range of geoscientific and environmental studies. The following are examples of research activities in relation to the G-BASE and TellusNI projects.

Examples of research activities in relation to G-BASE and TellusNI

Soil chemistry for environmental assessments

Maps of Great Britain, showing the distributions of potentially harmful elements including As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Sn and Zn to aid land quality risk assessment under land contamination guidance. Includes technical guidance sheets.

Normal background concentrations (NBCs) of contaminants in English and Welsh soils was commissioned by Defra to establish normal background concentrations of contaminants in English and Welsh soils as part of the UK land contamination regulations. Includes reports and technical guidance.

Review of Natural Contamination Project commissioned by the Department of the Environment (DOE)

A review of the significance of contamination from natural sources and mining areas to planning and development in Great Britain: natural radioactivity and radon; methane, carbon dioxide and oil seeps; potentially harmful elements (including arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and zinc).

The work begun under this project has progressed into the following studies:

Brownfield Ground Risk Calculator

Sediment and soil quality for catchment and land management

The G-BASE and TellusNI baseline geochemical datasets have been used extensively in medical geology investigations, in relation to animal and human health.

We have significant expertise in urban land quality assessment. See urban geochemistry.

Carbon and peat dynamics

Carbon and peat dynamics

Particle size estimation and aggregate stability

Soil geochemical baseline data and Quaternary till deposits 


Soil parent material model



Using geochemistry as an aid to geological mapping.

You may also be interested in


Applied geochemistry

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

Show more
Soil sample


The BGS Geochemical Baseline Survey of the Environment (G-BASE) is the national strategic geochemical mapping programme in Great Britain.

Show more

Was this page helpful?

  • How can we make this section better?*

  • Please select a reason*

  • How can we make this section better?*