Soils and landscapes

BGS Research

Soils are the thin veneer of geology that humans live on. Increasing human populations, changing climates and the intensification in the use of our soils mean that we are in danger of losing or causing irreversible damage to a resource that takes thousands of years to produce. In addition, how we use our soils is a key factor in determining the quality of our ground and surface waters as well as well as the air we breathe.

The soils team at BGS has expertise in soil chemistry, particularly the biogeochemical cycles of major and trace elements, and soil physics, where we focus on understanding soil structure and understanding soil moisture dynamics in UK and African soils. In addition we try to understand these processes in relation to the properties that the soil parent material (i.e. the geology) provides the soil, including the lifespan of soils in relation to formation and erosion.

Sustainable soils work at the BGS currently focuses on delivering information that can help the management of soils both in the UK and internationally. We work with a range of researchers, including BGS colleagues in groundwater, at the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry and Health, the mineralogy and petrography laboratories, and externally with HEI establishments and research institutes. Recent and current external collaborators include the Environment Agency and the Welsh Government.

Need more information?

Please contact the BGS enquiries team

Our research projects

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Medical geology — measuring geochemical hazards

Understanding and assessing geochemical hazards in the environment has been a part of the BGS portfolio of research for over 50 years.

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Quaternary sediment

Resilient lowland Quaternary landscapes

Geological processes in the UK during the Quaternary have to varying degrees affected the properties and behaviour of the shallow subsurface geology.

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Upland landscape resources

Improving how near-surface geology can be characterised and predicted in upland environments.

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River with algae

Phosporus in sediments

Recent work on phosphorus contamination in, and the role of soils on its transfer to, river sediments in the UK.

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You may also be interested in

Sustainable soils in the UK

ASSIST

The BGS is investigating how shallow groundwater levels may affect crop yield.

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LOCATE

LOCATE

LOCATE is a multidisciplinary project that will undertake the first ever coordinated sampling of the major rivers in Great Britain.

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emma-simpson-mNGaaLeWEp0-unsplash_feature

Medical geology — measuring geochemical hazards

Understanding and assessing geochemical hazards in the environment has been a part of the BGS portfolio of research for over 50 years.

Show more

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