Friday, 23 February 2018
BGS Offshore GeoIndex:
Contact us at BGS Marine Data Enquires: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
|Chris in the Stable Isotope Facility|
|The RRS James Cook|
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
BGS geoscientists at the Fractures Workshop February 2018
Trying to list everything we do would take me hours, so you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that we are a very wide range of scientists, each with our own specialism and experience, all working to understand the Earth and its environmental processes.
Which is why I was so surprised to find myself at a workshop last week whose aim was to discuss something that appears to link, pretty much, all areas of BGS: fractures.
What are fractures and what’s so important about them?The full BGS definition of a fracture is (hold onto your hat):
Everyone clear? They’re basically a break in the rock. They can be a fault (a fracture where one side has moved relative to the other) or a joint (a crack).
Understanding and locating fractures is also vital when it comes to some engineering projects such as tunnels. If you get this wrong, the tunnel may collapse, and the consequences could be extremely high. Which is exactly what happened at one case study described at the workshop – this is such an interesting case that I am going to write this up as a separate blog post, so watch this space!
British Geological Survey scheme for classifying discontinuities and fillings report
Incidentally, this is a really great report with an hierarchical classification scheme and a brilliant glossary at the back so even a
So with the report and all the geological mapping we have done over the last 183 years, we must have a detailed national fractures map with every fracture and joint set located and interpreted, right…?
Fractures and fracture networks are so complex and variable that this is a really tough and massive job, particularly because fracture data haven’t been recorded systematically as part of our historic national mapping programme. To further muddy the water, the way we think about, collect and interpret fracture data is often dependent on why we're doing it and who we're doing it for.
The future challenge: how to MANUFACTURE the FRACTURE CAPTURE (ok I’ll stop it now)Fractures possess an array of attributes e.g. roughness, filling, orientation, spacing, persistence, aperture, important for different applications e.g. landslide susceptibility modelling, understanding groundwater movement…
Getting engrossed in discussions: Fracture Rapture? (couldn’t resist)
So we’re in a bit of a pickle. We need to know more about where fractures are and how they behave; we need to consider the range of scales and crustal depths at which they occur so as to satisfy the varied requirements of our work at BGS. We have a number of staff with experience in observing, simulating, analysing and modelling fractures and fracture networks on different rocks for different purposes. We have a huge resource full of core and borehole logs as well as the National Geotechnical Properties Database. Representing all this as at the national scale is not impossible, but it wouldn’t be easy and would require considerable resources. There are many questions that need to be asked and considered.
So what next? The workshop provided an opportunity for geoscientists to come together to present and discuss their latest research as well as to share some more historic experience. It was agreed that the next task is to reconvene to analyse some core and visit some field sites to continue to share and nurture the practical skills we might need in the future using the diverse resources and knowledge we have.
Another workshop is being planned too. I’ll keep you posted…
ContactFor more information, please contact Richard Haslam, Maarten Krabbendam or Dee Flight.
*Credit where it’s dueFull credit is given to Vanessa Banks who coined the term ‘Fracture Capture’. Genius.
Friday, 9 February 2018
|From L-R: Prof Mike Stephenson, Clive |
Mitchell and Dr Katherine Daniels from BGS
in the Boulby Underground Lab
|From L-R: Polyhalite (hydrated potassium, magnesium, sodium sulphate - this will eventually take over from potash as the|
main output of Boulby Mine. Halite (rock salt, sodium chloride) from roadway at 1100m depth in Boulby Potash Mine.
Wednesday, 7 February 2018
Despite the current surge in research upon the aragonite shelled pteropods and their response to ocean acidification, the atlantid heteropods, which also have an aragonite shell (an unstable form of calcite) and live in the upper ocean, have barely been considered. This is largely due to a lack of baseline data on diversity and distribution, and a lack of identification skills. So, in pursuit to find out fundamental information about the atlantids I teamed up with Melanie Leng and Hilary Sloane in the Stable Isotope Facility at the BGS to answer the question ‘at what depth do atlantids live?’ Understanding the vertical distribution of planktonic gastropods is essential when considering the effects of imminent ocean acidification and climate change. It has long been hypothesised that the atlantid heteropods reside in the upper 250 m of the ocean, but this is a very broad definition of their habitat. Previous studies using opening and closing plankton nets have given us snippets of information about vertical distributions. However, these are often restricted to a small geographic region, or to only a few species. We took a different approach, using a combination of museum collections to look at broad distributions and migration patterns, and shell geochemistry, to pin point exactly where shells are calcified.
|The tiny sea elephant with its trunk is only a few mm across|
You can read more in our article published in Marine Ecology Progress Series http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v587/feature/
Debbie Wall-Palmer is a marine biologist and micropalaeontologist working on calcareous plankton at Naturalis Biodiversity Centre.
Monday, 5 February 2018
What is Fieldwork Diaries?
As well as keeping you entertained, we hope that these stories inspire you to carry out some fieldwork of your own! And we are here to help you along the way, by providing you with the resources you need to plan your next expedition. Check out our Links page for more information.
Who are Fieldwork Diaries?
Our podcast home is at www.fieldworkdiaries.com, where you’ll find all of our episodes, biographies of the people we’ve interviewed, and a stunning gallery of fieldwork photos from our researchers. You can also find our episodes on iTunes, Stitcher, and many other podcast sites. Subscribe to us on the website, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with our latest episodes and news.
And if you’ve got a story you’d like to tell then please do get in touch via our website contact page or through Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!
The BGS University Funding Initiative (BUFI) directly funds university collaboration. The aim is to encourage and fund science primarily at the PhD level and at present there are around 80 PhD students on our books who are based at about 35 UK universities and research institutes.
Thursday, 1 February 2018
|From L-R: Chris Brodie (Thermo Scientific), Angela Lamb |
and Andi Smith at the new IsoLink.
Please contact either Angela Lamb or Andi Smith if you want to learn more.
Friday, 19 January 2018
Taking a career break as an early career researcher could perhaps be viewed as less than smart but sometimes life just works out that way and anyway when is a good time to take a career break? The bigger issue perhaps is how do you get back in again? If you want to return to research following some time out, especially if you haven’t got a job to go back to can be a big challenge. So many doors seem to have closed, techniques have moved on and your publication record has likely gone into dormancy. From personal experience I felt like I’d blown my chances of working in research, I’d made a decision to take some time out, and getting back in was proving difficult. It’s hard not to take job rejection personally, especially when vacancy after vacancy gets filled with others who have more recent relevant experience. Job applications are draining, interviews are nerve wracking and rejections are demoralising, but somehow you keep going, just one more.
I’d got to the “just one more attempt” before facing up to the “I’m going to need to make a career change” place when I found out about the Daphne Jackson Trust Fellowship scheme. They offer a fellowship for people who have had to take a career break of more than 2 years and, along with a host institution provide funding and support, including retraining for a part-time, two year research position in a STEM subject. It seemed to be the perfect opportunity to return to research and there was a sponsored position available at the University of Nottingham. I allowed myself a small sideways look at hope.
Andrea has started her Fellowship working with George Swann at the University of Nottingham and Melanie Leng at the BGS.
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Why do we need to know what's under our cities? And what's it got to do with Icebergs?! ... by Catherine Pennington
|Drill auger sections and debris on the London |
Underground track (photograph courtesy of Network Rail)
"This was a serious incident that could have ended very differently had it not been for the vigilance and prompt reporting and actions of our drivers. We carry two million people a year on the Northern City Line" First Capital Connect managing director Neal Lawson, as reported by the BBC.The construction site was 13 metres above the tunnel and because the location of the tunnel wasn't shown on any map available to the site developer or the local planning authority, Network Rail was not consulted during the planning application stage. As a result, no one knew the tunnel and the drills were going to collide.
It also turns out that when the Rail Accident Investigation Branch examined the incident, over half the piles intended for the site would have crashed their way through the tunnel, had they been constructed.
You can read more about it in the RAIB Rail Accident Report.
This kind of scenario, where an asset (e.g. railway tunnel) is damaged or affected by something else (e.g. a drill), is known as a strike.
How on earth can a 'strike' happen with today's advanced detailed mapping technology?This situation could have been avoided entirely had the data about the ground beneath the construction site been coordinated and available to the right people at the right time. Sadly, this incident is just one of many.
At the moment, subsurface information is quite tricky to get at unless you know what you are doing. Data quality can be variable - entirely absent or poor. Meanwhile political and organisational boundaries make it difficult to get a wider picture of the subsurface conditions. Ultimately, there is no central digital map showing what is present, exactly where it is and what issues you need to be aware of.
An incomplete view of subsurface data can have costly and far-reaching outcomes. As well as damage to the underground assets themselves, other consequences include environmental costs and economic costs associated with the millions of hours of road disruption, huge repair and replacement costs, project re-designs and overruns. The Department of Transport estimates that street works account for an estimated cost of £4.3bn annually. Meanwhile the Treasury estimated in 2013 that greater cross-infrastructure collaboration can save the economy an estimated £3bn.
Introducing Project IcebergProject Iceberg aims to address the serious issue of the lack of information about the ground beneath our cities and the un-coordinated way in which the subsurface space is managed. This is an exploratory project undertaken by the British Geological Survey, Future Cities Catapult and the Ordnance Survey.
What are we likely to find in the ground beneath a city?The short answer is ... a lot. It's a complex, highly variable environment that has been through multiple phases of development. Not only are the natural ground conditions varied and often highly disturbed, but the ground contains a large number of built structures and utilities. There are gas mains, sewers, water supply pipes, drains, oil pipelines, old mine workings, tunnels, power cables, telecom cables, boreholes, landfills, basements... and the list goes on. These are owned or managed by different entities, making the job of uniting data quite an undertaking. As well as assets, there's geological information that needs to be taken into account for the design of foundations, slopes, retaining walls, tunnels, roads, rail and more.
Take a look at this:
©Future Cities Catapult
And what's it got to do with Icebergs?It's well known that a large proportion of an Iceberg lies below the surface (Isostasy). The same is true of our cities. We rely on the ground for a wide range of applications: for example provision of natural resources and housing of critical infrastructure and utilities. When it comes to planning, we often focus on the visible parts of our towns and cities and forget the complex and valuable ground beneath our feet – the name Project Iceberg is a reminder not to forget what you can’t see!
ContactFor more information, you can contact Stephanie Bricker at BGS or see Project Iceberg
Friday, 12 January 2018
The geotechnical industry has for some time adopted the Association of Geotechnical and geoenvironmental specialists (AGS) digital format for borehole data. Transferring borehole data in this format allows the industry to share data more easily, load it into a range of software types, create bespoke graphical logs and also re-use the data for creating 2D cross sections and 3D geological models. The AGS format has been specifically designed for the sharing of geotechnical data and thus our project aimed to make this a reality from the BGS archive; we wanted the ensure that the National Geoscience Data Centre not only archived and shared analogue borehole data, but also digital AGS data.
The solution moving forwards…
Sharing is key here
So now the proof will be in the pudding…
I have data but it’s not mine, can I upload it?
How many AGS files can I download at any one time?
Can I access the originally deposited AGS file?
If I state that the data is confidential what happens?