Ground shrinkage and subsidence

Shrinking and swelling of the ground (often reported as subsidence) is one of the most damaging geohazards in Britain today.

The BGS is undertaking detailed geotechnical and mineralogical investigations into rock types that are prone to shrink and/or swell, and modelling their properties across the near surface. This research underpins guidance contained in the national GeoSure dataset, and is the basis for our responses to local authorities, companies and members of the public who require specific information on the hazard in their areas.

Shrink–swell research at BGS

Urban subsidence Urban subsidence

Studying the impact of trees and paved driveways on shrink–swell in urban areas.

Research Methods, Techniques and Reports Research methods, techniques and reports

What innovative research techniques are used at BGS and what results have been published?

Hazard potential mapping Hazard potential mapping

Collated data is used to map areas potentially susceptible to shrink–swell action; including the national scale GeoSure dataset and 3D mapping of the volume change potential of the London Clay

Hazard potential mapping Shrink-swell and climate change

New research published by the BGS has linked extended periods of low rainfall to high levels of shrink-swell subsidence claims on the clay soils of the South East of the UK


For further information contact: Lee Jones