|Seismogram images of the earthquake on 20/07/17|
Friday, 21 July 2017
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
|The Chew Bahir project team.|
Our colleagues on the project are from the UK, Ethiopia, Germany and the US. Some are busy working out how old each bit of the sediment core is, e.g. using radiocarbon dating at the top and dating volcanic ash layers towards the bottom. Others are looking at changes in the type of algae found down the sediment core, to look at changes in how fresh or salty the lake water was over time. Some are taking the reconstructed climate changes and relating them to changes in human history. We want to establish what the climate was like when our species, Homo sapiens, evolved and then spread out of Africa. Some people have suggested that when climate changes from more variable to more stable, that can lead to movements of populations, but we want to test that hypothesis.
| From L-R: Location of one of the more famous Potsdam conferences, where Churchill, Truman and Stalin decided how|
to divide up Germany at the end of the Second World War; the famous Bridge of Spies in Potsdam.
Monday, 17 July 2017
Hello, my name is Olivier, I am a PhD student at the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry (University of Nottingham and BGS) and I have recently attended the BUFI Science Festival 2017, hosted in The Lyell Centre, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
BUFI (BGS University Funding initiative) supports over 100 projects and the Science Festival is an opportunity for all the PhD students to come and present a poster detailing their work, and to discuss it with both scientific and non-scientific BGS and Heriot-Watt staff members. This year there were 29 presenters with fantastic posters covering a wide range of topics including; environmental geochemistry, volcanology, hydrology and glaciology. My research revolves around iodine geodynamics and plant availability, and this year I presented my poster on ‘Iodine uptake, translocation and storage in spinach and tomatoes’.
Iodine is an essential micronutrient involved in the production of the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Approximately one-third of the world’s population are at risk of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD); the most severe effects occur during fetal development; leading to goitre, stillbirth, cretinism and mental impairment. The most widely-used method for reducing IDD is dietary supplementation with iodised salt; however, poor salt treatment and food processing reduces its effectiveness.
Due to the epidemic levels of IDD, alternative supplementation methods are required: iodine phytofortification is such a strategy. In my poster I outlined how one aspect of my project aims to develop the fundamental understanding of iodine uptake mechanisms and translocation pathways within plants, and assess the practicality and effectiveness of foliar-spray biofortification as a method of increasing dietary iodine intake.
|The Lyell Centre|
As the festival drew to a close a number of awards were presented; including The Lyell Centre staff prize, a BUFI students peer prize and a highly commended prize. I was lucky enough to win the best overall poster presentation prize! I had a great day and would just like to give a massive thank you to Jon Naden, Ellie Evans and Ann Evans for organising a fantastic event, I'm really looking forward to next year’s BUFI Science Festival.
By Olivier Humphrey
The PhD is supervised under the umbrella of the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry: Dr Scott Young, Dr Liz Bailey and Professor Neil Crout (University of Nottingham) and Dr Louise Ander and Dr Michael Watts (BGS)
Friday, 14 July 2017
|Guests at the Impossible Views exhibition|
|A large pebble and some of the 'mummified' wood that can be found at the Formation|
Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Friday, 7 July 2017
Thursday, 6 July 2017
In June 2017, the ninth meeting of the Isotopes in Biogenic Silica (IBiS) working group met in Blanes, Spain. The meeting was arranged with the aim of those interested in "silica, silicon and isotopes" to meet to discuss recent advances and discoveries in:
- biological and molecular processes involved in the production of biogenic silica
- ecological and biogeochemical mechanisms in the production of silica stocks
- silica isotope tracing of processes in both modern and ancestral environments
- biotechnology of silica
The meeting was organised by the Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Blanes (CEAB-CSIC) and attracted around 50 researchers from around the world. It was clear from the meeting that the use of silica in biotechnology (mainly as a carrier for other elements that need to be distributed in tiny quantities) is a huge growth area. Other important advances are being made around the signal retained in the oxygen and silica isotopes within the biogenic silica structure, as well as the advancements in analytical protocols and laboratory inter-calibration exercises.
Blanes, the gateway to the Costa Brava, was a relaxed setting for a conference. Although it is a popular tourist town, due to its amazing beach front, it was still early in the season so very quiet. Of note to geologists is the Sa Palomera, a rocky promontory that protrudes into the sea, made of fairly coarse-grained granite (which accounts for the wide, golden beaches).
Please contact Melanie Leng if you are interested in all aspects of the geochemistry of biogenic silica and would like to join the working group. We hope the next meeting to be in Northern Europe in June 2019.
Tuesday, 4 July 2017
There was a small army of BGS staff in dark blue t-shirts ready to answer questions and guide people as they got stuck-in to over fifty different activities and learning experiences. And to top it all, there was even an ice cream van!
As well as a series of talks, the BGS site in Keyworth, Nottingham, was divided into Learning Zones, each one with a different theme:
The Red Zone included demonstrations and activities on plate tectonics, earthquakes, tsunami, volcano mapping, coastal erosion and mapping minerals on the sea bed (with thanks to NOC). You could see how mountains are shaped and unearth the secrets of soil or play a protect-your-soil game. There were fossils through the ages and you could even make your own fossils with Rockwatch, the nationwide club for young geologists.
|Getting eaten alive!|
|Fly above and below the landscape on a virtual 3D tour of the UK|
|Discover information in our boreholes|
|The sand pit that changes colour!|
The Yellow Zone displayed our maps and apps, which are useful to anyone with an interest in geology, from engineers and other scientists to homeowners, gardeners and walkers, or even minecraft gamers. There was a giant floor map and a place to learn about how we use rocks and minerals in the home.
The Green Zone showcased our landslides and sinkholes research and gave the opportunity for people to talk to the experts about hazards and engineering.
The Purple Zone introduced the Anthropocene - a new geological era that encapsulates human driven biological, chemical and physical changes to the Earth’s system. You could dig through this era in a sandpit of discovery and also find out about the secret life of your mobile phone! You could also pan for gold!
The Blue Zone was full of splashingly good watery fun where you could learn about the water cycle, including how aquifers work. How do we measure water levels and water quality?
|A tour of the BGS core store|
|The secret life of your mobile phone|
|Panning for gold!|
|Walk like a dinosaur - with thanks to Plymouth University Earth Sciences Department|
|The BGS Open Day 2017 - a day of fun, interest and geological learning!|
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
|Dr Katherine Royse, Science Director GeoAnalytics and Modelling Directorate, |
receiving the Team of the Year award from Nick Starkey,
Deputy Director (Strategy & Impact), Science & Research at BEIS
When asked about the award, Katherine said: "I am so pleased that the directorate has received this recognition. It's an awesome achievement! The Directorate have made significant impact in developing BGS data assets so that they provide both public good and commercial services. This award recognises the hard work and dedication of BGS staff to support the UK innovation agenda, thereby encouraging economic growth and improving societal health and wellbeing.”
Maxine Ficarra, Executive Director of PraxisUnico said:
“I would like to congratulate the winners of the PraxisUnico RCUK Impact Awards. They, and all of the finalists, should all be immensely proud of their achievements and contributions. It is great to see so many innovative approaches to knowledge exchange and commercialisation, enabling UK research to deliver impact in so many diverse ways. This work is vital in ensuring that the UK remains competitive, innovative, and able to sustain economic growth.”
The GeoAnalytics and Modelling Directorate is a part of BGS that aims to explain, explore and predict the Earth’s response to natural and human-induced environmental change. Building better partnerships with the user community was a key part of the success of the team. By understanding the community’s needs, the GeoAnalytics and Modelling Directorate have been able to develop usable and understandable bespoke products and services. These include but are not limited to power networks, engineering consultancies, transport providers and the insurance sector, all of whom have contributed to the development of a number of key products and services to date.
If you want to find out more, see:
- Data analytics
- Data products
- Environmental statistics
- Modelling systems
- Visualisation systems
- GeoSure insurance
- BGS Civils
- GeoProperties product development
- Hazard Products
- Groundwater flooding susceptibility
Well done everyone!
|Some of the GeoAnalytics and Modelling Directorate|
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
|The ICDP Executive Committee in Kiruna, northern Sweden|
The UK is a member of the ICDP and this enables consortiums of geoscientists from the UK (in collaboration with other member countries) to apply for funding to deep drill the Earth through many kilometres of sediments and rocks in order to get cores of pristine material for scientific study (take a look at the ICDP website for more information on current projects). There are many reasons we want to take long cores through the Earth and like many applications we assessed in Kiruna, they often involve assessing natural hazards including volcanos and earthquakes, natural resources and understanding palaeoclimate. Both pre-drilling workshop proposals and full drilling proposals were assessed at the meeting and the outcomes will be published on the ICDP website in the coming weeks.
As part of the meeting the ICDP committee also visited the Kiruna state mine (owned by LKAB), the largest underground iron ore mine in the world. The mine has an annual production capacity of over 26 million tonnes of iron ore. The Kiruna ore body may have been formed from volcanic activity where iron precipitated into a syenite porphyry rock and was then tilted to 50 – 60°. Currently the iron is mined at a depth of over a kilometre.
|From L-R: View of one of the underground tunnels (lit with blue lights) at Kiruna; Kiruna mine from the surface; some|
raw megnetite (iron) ore and the processed iron pellets
For more information, please contact Melanie Leng
Thursday, 22 June 2017
|Siccar Point, Berwickshire. Arguably one of the most important|
geological sites in the world.
Internationally, Scotland is regarded as the birthplace of modern geoscience, led by geologist James Hutton in the late 18th century. At Siccar Point in Berwickshire, Hutton and John Playfair (Scottish Geologist and mathematician) unlocked ‘the abyss of time’ and presented a vision of a living world that recognised the crucial links between geology, soils, plants, animals and human beings. Our geodiversity is an asset of national and international importance with many sites celebrated around the world and contributing key aspects of world geoheritage. Our geodiversity is vital for interpreting past geological processes of global significance, such as plate tectonics, mountain building, volcanism, carbon cycling and glaciation and some of Scotland’s rocks also contain a rich variety of fossils that have significantly advanced our understanding of the evolution of life.
Geodiversity is vital as the foundation for biodiversity. The nation’s diverse assemblage of landforms, soils, water, nutrients and natural processes support nationally and internationally important terrestrial and marine ecosystems and species, and Scottish soils store large amounts of carbon, an important consideration in climate change mitigation. We live in a dynamic landscape where understanding of river, coastal, subsurface and slope processes are a vital part of nature-based solutions to management of hazards such as flooding, sea-level rise, coastal erosion, subsidence and landslides.
On land and sea, geodiversity makes a significant contribution to Scotland’s economy as a source of energy and materials, playing a critical role in the:
- exploration and production of mineral resources such as oil, gas and building materials;
- development of infrastructure, waste storage and remediation of pollution;
- research and development of carbon capture and storage (CCS), geothermal energy and subsurface energy storage;
- location of wind and hydro-power renewable resources;
- provision of ecosystem services.
Our geodiversity has been a powerful influence on cultural and intellectual development, as a source of inspiration for art, sculpture, music, poetry, literature and science. It forms part of our ‘sense of place’ and provides what Neal Ascherson called our ‘stone voices’ – “the way human experience in Scotland has been built so intimately into its geology that a people and its stones form a single cultural landscape.”
But perhaps the best description of the importance of geodiversity to Scotland can be found in the Scotland’s Geodiversity Charter (the first of its type in the world) prepared by the Scottish Geodiversity Forum and partners. It presents a vision that geodiversity is “recognised as an integral and vital part of our environment, economy, heritage and future sustainability to be safeguarded for existing and future generations in Scotland”.
This blog was first published in Scotland's Environment's blog section 'Our rocks and landforms: the great stone book of Scotland'. Over the next few weeks the blog will be exploring the exciting projects that their partners are working on in this area and looking at the maps, data tools and information available on their website.
Wednesday, 14 June 2017
|Mel carefully collecting |
sea water samples for
Over the last year we at the BGS have been very busy analysing transects of the oceans to track currents and understand where freshwater enters the oceans through the oxygen chemistry. Very soon we will start measuring the carbon. As several laboratories are involved in the carbon analysis we need to check that we all get the same results. So we needed to collect an average water to distribute to all the labs involved...
|Carol working at the mobile lab |
once we were back on land.
The ORCHESTRA project is led by Prof Mike Meredith at the British Antarctic Survey. For further details please go to our website.
Tuesday, 6 June 2017
At the end of May, the NICS put on the biggest public sector showcase of the year, NICS Live, when various sectors of the NICS get the opportunity to showcase the work that they do and highlight how this benefits the citizens of Northern Ireland. The event brings together leaders from across Northern Ireland's public sector to share best practice, promote innovation and discuss how to better deliver public services for citizens. Presenting at this huge event is a competitive process and applications have to be submitted well in advance before being assessed by a number of senior managers.
GSNI was the only office of the DfE that won a place at the event and we took full advantage of this opportunity. Not only did we emphasise the huge part that geoscience plays in Northern Ireland's economy, but also how it benefits all other sections of society. Before the event, we compiled a number of core messages, all designed to highlight the huge impact of GSNI and the geoscience sector as a whole.
- Developing the economy: we support Northern Ireland's economic sector and job creation a number of sectors including aggregates, valuable minerals, oil & gas, and geothermal.
- Research, data and innovation: our scientists acquire, maintain, analyse and interpret geoscience data to support and inform decision-making.
- Underpinning infrastructure: we supply information on geology and ground conditions to develop Northern Ireland's transport, utility, energy networks and construction sector.
- Monitoring the environment: we provide information to help protect and sustainably manage Northern Ireland's natural environment.
- Enhancing tourism: we provide advice and guidance on developing our natural landscape for sustainable tourism.
- Protecting human and animal health: we assess and mitigate risks to human and animal health from natural hazards.
- Supporting education: we help to develop and design resources for schools that educate and inspire future earth scientists.
|From L to R: The interactive stand at NICS Live; DfE Permanent Secretary, Dr Andrew McCormick and BGS Director of|
Science and Technology, Prof Mike Stephenson.
|Speakers at the 'Understandng Underground' session.|
Over 1000 delegates attended over the entire day and the talks programme was fully-booked with approximately 100 people present. Of the 98 delegates who registered to attend GSNI's talk session, almost 1/3 were from Grade 7 (Principal Officer) to Senior Civil Service grades from all nine Northern Ireland government departments and the Northern Ireland Office, which demonstrates the breadth and depth of the impact. Afterwards, Twitter was singing the praises for the DfE and GSNI, in particular, complimenting the gender balance of speakers and DfE senior female representation.
We hope that by attending and presenting at NICS Live we have been able to not only increase the awareness and understanding of what GSNI does, but also highlight the impact that our scientists have on not just the economy, but on all elements of the lives of each and every one of Northern Ireland's citizens.
Monday, 5 June 2017
|Ashover Grit, Stanton Moor Quarry, Matlock, Derbyshire.|
Friday, 26 May 2017
|Savannah presenting preliminary PhD research |
|The PAGES OSM was held at the Auditorio de Zaragoza|
|The DeepCHALLA UK party at the BGS plus International lead |
investigator Dirk Verschuren (Ghent University)
|The DeepCHALLA drilling rig on the lake|
|A diatom from Lake Challa that will be analysed to reconstruct |
250,000 years of climate history in equatorial east Africa