Research news and awards

Latest news about our research. Project progress and collaboration. Awards and achievements.


A sequence of small earthquakes started near Newdigate, Surrey, with a magnitude 2.6 ML event on 1 April 2018.

BGS's seismic monitoring provides an impartial source of earthquake data and calculated earthquake magnitude and location. Data from our stations are viewable on the real-time seismograms page of our website.

16 April 2019

Professor Michael Stephenson

Mike Stephenson has been appointed Visiting Professor at Nanjing University in China. Nanjing University is one of China’s top universities and is ranked by Nature journal as number 12 in the world for excellence of research output. Mike will be presented with his professorship when he visits Nanjing in October this year. The professorship acknowledges the work Mike has done with Professor Junxuan Fan of the University of Nanjing to develop the Geobiodiversity Database, and the International Union of Geological Sciences Deeptime Digital Earth Program.

15 April 2019

Landslide at Burton Bradstock
The British Geological Survey (BGS) and the Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection (IRPI) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at fostering common research activities in the fields of geomorphology and engineering geology.

12 April 2019

Geological Society logo
This major conference, held by the Geological Society of London in January 2019, looked at the geological solutions to decarbonisation. The main objective was to identify the high-level barriers to progress and the main science questions, as well as to begin a roadmap to put geological decarbonisation firmly on the policy agenda. This briefing note summarises the main themes of the meeting and the ways in which geoscience and the subsurface can deliver opportunities for decarbonisation.

5 April 2019

Carbon dioxide molecules

A three-year international project focusing on best practice for developers engaged in subsurface energy projects is under way with dedicated funding from the European Union.

The SECURe project (Subsurface Evaluation of CCS and Unconventional Risks), which today launches its dedicated website – – involves 16 research partners from seven European countries and will gather unbiased, impartial scientific evidence relating to monitoring the environment and mitigating risk for unconventional hydrocarbon production and geological CO2 storage.

The €9-million study is being funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and will develop best practice guidelines on assessing risk, undertaking monitoring and mitigating any potential impacts.

The SECURe partnership is headed by the UK’s British Geological Survey (BGS) and includes major research and commercial organisations from Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and United Kingdom.

Full details here:

2 April 2019


US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has launched MagQuest, an innovation challenge to advance how we measure Earth's magnetic field. The challenge is seeking solutions for geomagnetic data collection for the World Magnetic Model.

Enter by 16th May.

22 March 2019

New research identifies the role of the Indian Summer Monsoon on global climate change

A study led by researchers at The Open University (OU) with contributions from the British Geological Survey (BGS) has revealed new insights to help understand the historical importance of the Indian Summer Monsoon. Newly generated records of the Indian Summer Monsoon in put into context with published climate data, identified how the monsoon helped propagate warmth and moisture between the southern hemisphere with the northern hemisphere and thereby promoted global deglaciation.

18 March 2019

Seismic trace

A sequence of small earthquakes was recorded near Newdigate, Surrey, between 1 April 2018 and 28 February 2019.

Further information: Earthquakes near Newdigate, Surrey

4 March 2019

Rock specimen of shale (P521463)

Methane has been detected at the BGS-University of Manchester greenhouse gas monitoring station near Cuadrilla’s shale gas operations at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton, Lancashire.

Enhanced methane concentration in the air east of the Cuadrilla site was recorded on 7th December 2018 and again between 11th and 17th January 2019. Analysis of the monitoring data indicates that this was due to the emission of non-combusted methane from the shale gas site.

The peak concentration of methane observed, which was in the January 2019 emission, exceeded 10,000 parts per billion (ppb). To put this into context, the typical atmospheric concentration of methane in this area has been observed to be in the range 1857 to 2544 (ppb).

The monitoring being carried out is part of the BGS-led environmental monitoring project which is jointly funded the BGS’s National Capability programme and a grant awarded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

This project represents the first independent, integrated monitoring programme set up to characterise the environmental baseline and any subsequent changes in areas where shale gas development is taking place. The monitoring has continued the first hydraulic fracturing operations at the Preston New Road shale gas site.

Data analysis in the report was conducted by Dr Jacob Shaw (University of Manchester) with Dr Grant Allen (University of Manchester) who was responsible for the supervision of the greenhouse gas component of the environmental monitoring project. Professor Rob Ward (BGS) is overall project manager.

Download report:

Methane enhancements detected at Little Plumpton air monitoring site

Download the methane data:

Methane data from Little Plumpton 01-12-18 to 17-02-19

Project web pages:

Environmental baseline monitoring in Lancashire

Link to Frequently Asked Questions:

Lancashire Monitoring Programme FAQs

For further information contact:

Dr Grant Allen, University of Manchester

27 February 2019

Ocean image
British Geological Survey and Heriot-Watt scientists are research partners in the ambitious, £20 million UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub, which will transform the global response to the urgent challenges facing our oceans.
From plastic pollution to rising sea levels and acidification to over-fishing, the threats facing our oceans are well-known.
The UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub will bring together the competing interests and agendas of the individuals, groups and organisations that rely on our oceans to realise a vision of an integrated and sustainable approach to managing their use.
A key priority will be to ensure the knowledge, experiences and rights of those most-reliant upon the oceans, and disproportionately affected by our failure to protect them, are recognised.
The team will set out to uncover the less tangible values of the ocean, and the hidden 'trade-offs' in ocean decision-making.
The goal is to ensure decision-making is based on evidence of risks and opportunities among competing ocean uses.
Find out more

22 January 2019