Martin Smith

Dr Martin Smith

Science director, BGS Global
BGS Edinburgh


Dr Martin Smith was appointed in 2013 to lead the newly formed BGS Global Geoscience. He joined BGS in 1981 and has extensive experience in UK and African geology and in the leadership and management of research.

A graduate of Aberdeen University he holds a PhD in tectonics from Aberystwyth University. He previously led the UK Geology and Landscape programme with responsibility for onshore responsive surveys, provision of advice to government including EU Directives and national events, and the implementation of digital and 3D modelling systems. Prior to that between 2000 and 2009 he served as Chief Geologist, Scotland and as Head of Station for the Edinburgh office between 2003 and 2008. Between 2008 and 2012 he was responsible for BGS CCS related activities in Scotland and a founding member of the Centre for Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage and a Director of ECOSSE.

As a survey geologist he has led research and training projects in basement and volcanic terrains in the Scottish Highlands and in Kenya, Egypt and Morocco and has research interests in faulting, basement reactivation, shear zones and rift tectonics. A Chartered Geologist, he is currently engaged in expert technical advice on major infrastructure projects.

Martin Smith’s Biography

  • 2016 : MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to geoscience
  •  2013 – ongoing : Science Director, BGS Global
  •  2010 –2012 : Head of Geology & Landscape
  •  2007 –2010 : Chief Geologist, Scotland
  •  2003 –2008 : Head of Station for Murchison House, Edinburgh
  •  2000 –2007 : Programme Manager for Scotland and N England
  •  1996 –2000 : Project Leader, Monadhliath Highlands, Scotland
  •  1994 –1996 : Geological advisor and trainer to the Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Department
  •  1992 –1994 : Survey geologist Scottish Highlands
  •  1988 –1992 : Geothermal geologist, Kenyan Ministry of Energy
  •  1988 : PhD, University of Wales, Aberystwyth
  •  1981 : BSc (Hons), Geology, Aberdeen University
  •  1981 : Joined BGS, survey geologist in Wales

Research interests

  • Basement reactivation, shear zones and basement – cover relationships
  • Best practice and methodologies for defining CO2 stores
  • Laurentian Late Proterozoic basin evolution and Caledonian deformation

Current projects and collaborations

  • CCS: Multi-scale whole systems analysis
  • Glendoe

NERC Open Research Archive — Dr Martin Smith

Key papers

SMITH, M.  1994.  Stratigraphic and structural constraints on mechanisms of active rifting in the Gregory Rift, Kenya. Tectonophysics (special KRISP volume).  236, 3–22.

SMITH, M, AND MOSLEY, P.  1993.  Crustal heterogeneity and basement influence on the development of the Kenya rift, East Africa.  Tectonics.  12, 591–606.

STURCHIO, N C, DUNKLEY, P N, AND SMITH, M. 1993.  Chronology of Late Quaternary geothermal activity in the northern Kenya Rift Valley.  Nature.  362, 233–234.

WILKINSON, I, AND SMITH, M.  1988.  Basement fractures in North Wales, their recognition and control on Caledonian deformation.  Geological Magazine.  125, 301–306.

SMITH, M.  1987.  The Tremadoc Thrust zone in southern central Snowdonia.  Geological Journal.  22 (Thematic Issue), 119–129.


  • Geological mapping of ancient and recent volcanoes and rift successions
  • Geological mapping of basement terranes, shear zones and tectonics
  • Management of complex integrated projects, scientific leadership


Professional associations

  • Chartered Geologist
  • Fellow of the Geological Society
  • Member of Edinburgh Geological Society

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