Research news and awards


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

Dr Barry Rawlins, Team Leader for Soil and Landscape Processes has been made an Honorary Associate Professor within the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham.

Barry has been awarded this honour in recognition of his collaboration with the university over a diverse range of applied topics including environmental geochemistry and soil science (including digital soil mapping and the biogeochemistry of carbon and phosphorus).  In both environmental geochemistry and soil science Barry has used geostatistical techniques to understand the controls on the distribution of macronutrients, naturally occurring radiation and pollutants in both rural and urban settings, mostly in the UK.

Publications in NORA

14 April 2014
Dr Virginia Panizzo from the School of Geography, University of Nottingham, has been appointed as a Visiting Research Associate (VRA) with the British Geological Survey (BGS). Ginnie has recently been appointed as an Anne McLaren Fellow at UoN (from April 2015), and she will be researching into global budgets of silicon cycling, by providing the first estimates of its sources, sinks and fluxes in coastal mangrove systems. Silicon acts as the building blocks for primary algal productivity and, as a result, has a strong control on global carbon cycles and the inventory of CO2 in the atmosphere. The implications of this research are crucial for the mitigation of future climate change and builds on Ginnie’s previous Si cycling research. Her Fellowship is in conjunction with Dr Matthew Horstwood and Dr Christopher Vane (both BGS), Dr Barry Lomax UoN, Dr Suzanne McGowan (UoN Malaysia Campus) and Prof Rozainah Zakaria and Prof Chong Ving Ching (University of Malaysia).
7 April 2014
We are pleased to announce that Dr Matt Hall (University of Nottingham) has recently been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Research Fellowship which is sponsored by the BGS. This Fellowship will be very important for BGS research in mineralogy/ petrography and rock-fluid interactions. It will also underpin the strategic partnership between BGS and Nottingham, in particular the Nottingham Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage (NCCCS) for which Matt is the newly-appointed Director. Matt's research will boost several of our priority areas, such as carbon storage, shale gas, gas hydrates, and energy storage. Matt will be spending much of his time at BGS working with our scientists.
4 April 2014
On 25 March 2014, the British Geological Survey (BGS) in partnership with the ReFINE (Researching Fracking IN Europe) consortium, led by Durham University, published a review of global oil and gas well integrity in the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology. The paper is available for free download at the link below: Oil and gas wells and their integrity: Implications for shale and unconventional resource exploitation.

Dr Rob Ward, Director of Groundwater Science at the BGS, and a co-author of the paper said, ‘This extensive review of published information shows that hydrocarbon well integrity problems are a real issue. Despite this, there has been only one reported incidence of a UK onshore operational hydrocarbon well causing pollution due to well integrity failure, although there is a lack of of information for the many hundreds of other abandoned wells. 

Analysis carried out by the BGS, as part of the study, shows that 45 per cent of the 2152 hydrocarbon wells drilled since 1902 penetrate highly or moderately productive aquifers. These aquifers are important for drinking water supply and supporting flow in rivers and wetlands, and so any leakage from the wells could have significant environmental impact and require costly remediation.

The risks associated with well integrity failure therefore need to be taken very seriously and as a result wells drilled onshore in the future (including those for shale gas) will be subject to strict regulatory controls that require a detailed environmental risk assessment to be carried out, approval of well design by an independent inspector, well integrity testing and effective groundwater monitoring.’

26 March 2014

The Satellite Applications Catapult, an independent technology and innovation company, is announcing the launch of three new regional ‘ Centres of Excellence’ , including the British Geological, in satellite applications. Each new Centre will act as a focal point for Catapult activity in its local area, consolidating the links between the science knowledge base and the business community.

For more information see the Space Catapult Website.

21 March 2014

Deep ocean carbonate ion increase during mid Miocene CO2 decline by Sev Kender.

This paper is the first to constrain mid Miocene ocean carbonate chemistry.

The mid Miocene is important because it is one the the three largest cooling shifts in the Cenozoic, where there was massive ice sheet growth on Antarctica.

Carbonate chemistry of the oceans is important because it is linked to oceanic and atmospheric CO2 levels.

Our paper shows that the mid Miocene ocean carbonate contents increased, drawing down atmospheric CO2, which then probably led to cooling and ice sheet growth. We suggest this could have been from increased uplift and erosion of the Himalaya.

Some studies in the past had suggested that CO2 did not change over this interval, so along with some other recent studies, our paper confirms a link between climate and CO2.

5 March 2014

On Monday 17th February 2014 at 17:30, the British Geological Survey (BGS) and Keyworth and District Gardeners Association hosted Radio 4 s Gardeners Question Time at the BGS headquarters in Keyworth.

Gardeners’ Question Time is broadcast on Fridays at 15.00 and Sundays at 14.00 (

Recording of the Gardeners Question Time from Friday 28 February 2014.

4 March 2014

Under the watchful eye of William Smith, eight of our longest serving geologists with over 300 years of combined service say goodbye to their colleagues on their retirement on 28 February.

3 March 2014

Dr Holly Miller from the Department of Archaeology, University of Nottingham, has been appointed as a visiting research associate (VRA) with the British Geological Survey (BGS). Holly’s research interests include the use of isotopes in archaeological faunal material and is currently a research fellow on an AHRC Fallow Deer Project which aims to facilitate the integration of archaeology, history, geography and anthropology along with genetics and osteological research - to examine the circumstances and cultural significance of this species diffusion across Europe. Holly’s other interests include lithic (chipped stone) analysis prehistory of the Near East origins of nomadic pastoralism in the Southern Levant material culture of the Near East the development of lithic technologies, beads and personal adornment, and bead technology. Holly works closely with Dr Angela Lamb in the Stable Isotope Group, BGS.

3 March 2014

Dr Chris Vane, Head of the Organic Geochemistry Group at the BGS, has been made an Honorary Associate Professor within the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham.

Chris has been awarded this honour in recognition of his collaboration with the university in the use organic compounds to solve problems in climate and environmental change, energy and pollution; for example the characterisation of organic matter in conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon systems in order to improve resource estimates and his work around carbon storage in salt marsh and mangrove systems.

24 February 2014