UK geochemical baselines

BGS Research — Applied geochemistry

BGS and the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI) have carried out two major projects — G-BASE and TellusNI, respectively — to examine the chemical composition of stream sediment, stream water and soil samples. In addition, the BGS has carried out a systematic survey of the chemical composition of groundwater across Great Britain’s main aquifers. Together these projects provide geochemical baseline information for the UK environment to support sustainable resource management and development and UK environmental policy.

Applications of the data are diverse and include:

  • mapping environmental change
  • support for environmental policymakers and regulators
  • management and remediation of land contamination, waste and polluted waters
  • environmental protection and sustainability of natural capital assets (land; water; agriculture; energy; ecosystem resources)
  • underpinning scientific studies into possible environmental impacts on human and ecosystem health
  • better understanding of the UK geological environment
  • exploration for critical minerals

Geochemical Baseline Survey of the Environment: G-BASE

G-BASE is a major BGS project comprising a multimedia (stream sediment, stream water and soil), high-resolution baseline geochemical survey of Great Britain, providing national and international information and expertise in geochemical mapping. As a consequence, G-BASE is a focal point for geochemical studies within the BGS.

Baseline geochemical mapping of Northern Ireland: TellusNI

The TellusNI geochemical survey is the equivalent of the G-BASE project in Northern Ireland. Stream sediment, stream water and soil samples were collected, adopting the established G-BASE standard, between 1994 and 2006. Further information on the TellusNI geochemical surveys can be at the Tellus minisite; TellusNI data and the publication ‘A guide to the Tellus data’ can also be downloaded.

Groundwater chemistry baselines

We have also studied the baseline chemistry of groundwaters in British aquifers:

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