National Geological Model Project

Geological models provide three-dimensional (3D) characterisation of the materials and structures of the subsurface. Models can be developed at a range of scales and form essential tools for:

  • Understanding spatial variability in the properties of rocks and sediments
  • Identifying potential energy and mineral reserves, and sites for underground storage and disposal of waste
  • Analysing the processes that affect water and heat in the subsurface
  • Helping people understand and visualise what is below ground

Development and management of the UK's geological model resources is the responsibility of the BGS National Geological Model project. Through this project we use modelling processes to advance our understanding of the geology of the UK, develop national-scale geological models, and manage a national store of local and regional scale models.

Information and data from a range of sources is integrated in the development of geological models. This includes digital geological maps, memoirs, papers and reports, geophysical data, borehole and well records, and existing models. Our geological models are underpinned by key BGS databases and dictionaries, including:

Crustal-scale model of Caledonian tectonic  terranes bounded by major faults viewed from the south-west.

National models

The UK3D model characterises the bedrock geology of the UK via an interconnected set of cross–sections extending up to 6 km below the surface, and up to 20 km offshore.

A more generalised tectonic crustal-scale model has also been developed for the British Iles (including Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales). This conceptual model comprises cross–sections down to 15 km depth and major fault surfaces. It was developed though collaboration between the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI), The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the British Geological Survey.

Geological model availability

The UK3D model is available for download, and a range of open access resources and associated information can be found on the UK3D and Regional Visualisation Models webpages. Selected local and regional–scale geological models are also available for licence via the BGS Groundhog web delivery service, or by contacting enquiries.


For further information contact Enquiries.

British Geological Survey
NG12 5GG
Telephone: 0115 936 3143
Fax: 0115 936 3276