What's in the NGR collections and finding detailed information




The National Geological Repository (NGR) holds:

  • Over 200 km of cores, samples and cuttings from over 15 000 boreholes, including collections from 'landward' hydrocarbon wells held on behalf of the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
  • Over 300 km of drill-core and 4.5 million samples of cuttings from approximately 8000 wells comprising the UK Continental Shelf offshore hydrocarbon collection, held on behalf of the Department for Energy and Climate Change and deposited with the NGR under PON9.
  • Offshore sea-bed sediment and core samples from the UK continental shelf and elsewhere, including vibrocore samples, grab samples and gravity cores.
  • The UK's foremost biostratigraphical collections of over three million specimens including:
    • type, figured and cited fossils, plus representative reference examples
    • comprehensive, locality based, collection of macrofossils
    • comprehensive micropalaeontological slide collection, including many samples from boreholes and important donated material, such as the John Smith and Kidston collections.
  • The major British collection of rocks and thin sections including
    • the national reference collection of approximately 200 000 thin sections and hand specimens from most major British rock units
    • Museum collections including rock materials collected by Charles Darwin and early collections from Antarctica
    • Building Stones, including the National Roofing Materials Collection
    • Minerals collections including the Thorman collection
  • Geochemistry collections comprising a variety of materials, mostly held as processed soil and stream sediment samples, collected primarily for geochemical analysis.
  • Unique collections of geological records including:
    • 1.3 million borehole logs from onshore UK
    • site investigation records and reports from onshore UK
    • onshore and offshore geophysical logs
    • hydrocarbon well logs held on behalf of the Department for Energy and Climate Change
    • the archive of UK nuclear waste repository investigation reports held on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
    • geochemical analyses from onshore UK
    • marine sample records from offshore UK
    • opencast coal data
    • BGS geologists' field notebooks and field slips
    • complete series of BGS geological maps from 1840s to the present day
  • The British Antarctic Survey's rock and fossil collections from Antarctica and the southern Atlantic.

Finding detailed information

GeoIndex Interface

The GeoIndex is an easy-to-use searchable map interface that enables users to find all data and information held by the BGS for any part of the UK, onshore and offshore.

Additional online databases can be searched to discover the physical collections held in the NGR, including:

The BGS is progressively scanning and digitising the NGR collections, and some of these are now available online free of charge.

Examples include over 1.3 million scanned UK onshore borehole records, and 125 000 high-definition images of cores from UK continental shelf hydrocarbon exploration and production wells — available from OpenGeoscience.

Access to the collections of the National Geological Repository is provided free of charge to private individuals, students and academic researchers.

Commercial users are charged on a cost-recovery basis. Full details of these charges, and how to make arrangements to use the NGR, can be found at: Using materials collections.


Contact enquiries@bgs.ac.uk for more information