Friday, 21 July 2017

Learning about the living earth: the BGS through the eyes of a newbie... by Grace Davis

Seismogram images of the earthquake on 20/07/17
It’s the end of another busy week at the BGS, and an even busier Friday. On the night of Thursday the 20th, as I’m sure you know, an M 6.7 earthquake hit southwest Turkey and the Dodecanese islands, tragically causing two fatalities, many injuries, and structural damage to buildings. I first heard about it on the radio as I drove to work, and arrived prepared to help with any enquiries we might receive. Most of my morning was spent on Twitter and Facebook, updating people with the information we had and directing them to our earthquake pages if they wanted to know more about why things like this happen.


Taking a step back in time, Monday saw me attending another lunchtime lecture (I think I’m getting to be a familiar sight in the conference room: eagerly clutching my notepad and pen like an anxious child on the first day of school). This one was all about our Official Development Assistance programme. The programme and projects involved are still being developed but, from what I gathered at the lecture, it’s certainly shaping up to be a fascinating and innovative area of work for the BGS that will have truly global implications.

Projects like this were one of the things that drew me to the BGS originally, and continue to intrigue me now. I think that sometimes people believe geology is all about things that have already happened, stuff that is ancient history. Although that’s undeniably part of it, what I have come to realise more and more and is that so much of geology is about the living earth: the processes and changes that are happening in front of our eyes (even though some are far too slow for our eyes to perceive!).

A wonderful example of living geology is the work the BGS does on energy. And if you’re wondering what that work is, well I can’t put it better than the words on the front page of the BGS’ energy web section: “the BGS supports science that seeks to understand and maximise the recovery of dwindling fossil fuel reserves, as well as helping the development of renewable energy such as geothermal power.” This is science that affects us all! If you’d like find out more about this work, why not head over to our dedicated energy pages.

There won’t be a post from me next week as I’ll be on annual leave, jaunting around Berlin with my family (birthday wishes to my dad who probably doesn’t want me to mention his age on here). So it’s adieu from me for now!


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