Global geological risk

BGS Global Research Platform 3

Natural geological hazards, such as earthquakes, landslides and volcanic eruptions, and their associated impacts and risks are of key concern to lives and livelihoods, including long-term economic growth. Monitoring and understanding dynamic geological processes and using this information to improve disaster risk reduction can increase the security and sustainability of development.

Our collaborative research focuses on characterising complex, multi-hazard processes primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean, eastern Africa and Asia. Our aim is to improve resilience of communities to hazards via key research themes:

  • strengthening multi-hazard resilience through integrating citizen science, innovative technologies and understanding of environmental processes, hazards and impacts
  • enhancing resilience of institutional networks, systems and communities in eastern Africa
  • developing sustainability and resilience across the disaster cycle

Our international, collaborative research with partners is fully aligned with global drivers including the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We focus on SDGs 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 13 (climate action) and 17 (partnerships for the goals). We are also actively working towards delivering the four priorities for action in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction:

  • understanding disaster risk
  • strengthening disaster risk governance
  • investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
  • enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to ‘build back better’

We agree research aims and impacts with our partners and monitor progress using a ‘theory of change’. Our global, collaborative efforts are achieved through a series of key integrated research tasks.

Our research


Sustainable water supply

The Ethiopian Rift Valley is a semi-arid region of East Africa where scarcity of water supply poses a significant problem for local populations.

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Earth observation and landslides research

BGS scientists are collaborating with research partners to improve knowledge of landslide susceptibility in Ethiopia.

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Pathways to Action

The ‘Pathways to Action’ project aims to characterise flows of communication within and between communities to help reduce multi-hazard risk.

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Enhancing multi-hazard resilience through citizen science

We are working with partners to develop a citizen science app for collecting and sharing observations of natural hazards and impacts in near real-time.

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Geophysical technologies for landslide monitoring and early warning

We are developing geophysical monitoring systems that can be used to study hydraulic processes inside unstable slopes to identify and and give early warning of landslide events.

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Groundwater challenges in India and Pakistan

We are reconstructing a century of groundwater level records in order to understand the long-term behaviour of groundwater in north-west India and Punjab in Eastern Pakistan.

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Seismic data acquisition

Our work in Ethiopia to improve understanding of the seismic situation in order to characterise hazard and risk.

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Eruption site

Geohazard risk in the East African Rift

The East African Rift (EAR) is a unique natural laboratory because a wide range of dynamic geological processes, such as rifting, magmatic intrusions and different types of volcanic eruptions, can be directly observed and studied.

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Supporting volcano-related disaster risk reduction worldwide (ODA)

The BGS Volcanology group are supporting a variety of projects under the ODA programme that are building partnerships, sharing knowledge, and enhancing our understanding of hazards and risks.

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