Mineralogy, petrology and biostratigraphy

Cross polarised light photomicrograph showing characteristic low birefringence and pseudo-uniaxial crosses of chalcedony

The Mineralogy, Petrology and Biostratigraphy (MPB) Facility comprises a cluster of complementary laboratories which seek to research and characterise the mineralogical, textural and biostratigraphical composition of geological and allied materials, in order to understand the processes,conditions and time at which they formed or have been altered.

The MPB laboratories are staffed by an experienced team and are equipped with an extensive range of modern equipment to provide the highest quality analysis and interpretation.

MPB is employed on a diverse work programme that spans the BGS Science strategy. Particularly strong areas of involvement include:

MPB is composed of four laboratory sections:

  • Mineralogy
    • X-ray diffraction, clay mineralogy, thermal analysis, surface area, heavy media separation and analysis, industrial mineral property evaluation, mineral processing
  • Petrography and microanalysis
    • optical and ore microscopy, UV epifluorescence microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, scanning transmission electron microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, optical and SEM-based cathodoluminescence microscopy, autoradiography, fluid inclusion microthermometry, petrographic image analysis
  • Thin sections
    • preparation of standard, polished, impregnated sections, fluid inclusion and transmission electron microscopy wafers, grain mounts
  • Biostratigraphy
    • preparation facilities for palynology and micropalaeontology

This varied work programme is funded by a combination of BGS-project related research and development, mission-critical commissioned research and direct commercial analysis and consultancy.

Our extensive client base includes the international nuclear industry; major mining and oil companies; civil engineering companies and consultancies, utility companies; UK and overseas governments; universities and building and conservation consultancies.

MPB maintain excellent links with UK and international academic institutions through MSc/PhD student supervision, project involvement, learned society memberships and user-groups. MPB staff are available to provide training in preparation and analytical techniques both in the UK and through visits to off-site locations.


Please contact Andrew Bloodworth for further information