Research news and awards

Latest news about our research. Project progress and collaboration. Awards and achievements.

Seismic trace
The following preliminary information is available for this earthquake: DATE : 14 July 2019 ORIGIN TIME : 05:39 24s UTC LAT/LONG : 18.202° South / 120.337° East DEPTH : 10.0 km MAGNITUDE : 6.6 Mw LOCALITY : Offshore location, 200 km west of Broome north-west Australia. This earthquake equals the largest ever event recorded in Australia. It was felt from Perth to Darwin. It stunned many local residents who had never felt an earthquake before. There are no reports of substantial damage, strong shaking was observed with many items falling of shelves and tables. There was no threat of a tsunami from this event.

15 July 2019

The following preliminary information is available for this earthquake: DATE : 14 July 2019 ORIGIN TIME : 09:10 50s UTC LAT/LONG : 0.529° South / 128.093° East DEPTH : 10.0 km MAGNITUDE : 7.3 Mw LOCALITY : Remote region of Indonesia, 100 km NNE of Laiwui. This event currently has an onshore location. There is very little information available at this time. Latest media reports indicate that it has been felt over a wide area.

15 July 2019


The British Geological Survey (BGS) and the Environment Agency (EA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) detailing the areas where they will work together at strategic, technical and operational levels.

The two organisations will collaborate to improve environmental outcomes and optimise the use of resources. This will deliver long-term benefits to the environment and enable and support world-leading UK applied research in environmental geoscience.

In particular, the partnership aims to work together in the following areas:

  • Climate change: identify and advise on relevant long-term, climate-driven environmental change and extreme events, aligning with latest government policy, guidance and research on climate change.
  • Groundwater protection: identify and advise on sources and behaviour of pollutants in the subsurface; risk assessment and development of effective monitoring and risk management strategies.
  • Government policy and legislation: understand approaches to government policies on environmental and geoscience issues, and achievement of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Flood risk management: understand sources and controls on, and reduce risks from, flooding and its impacts on communities, infrastructure and the environment.
  • Incident management: identify practical measures to prevent, reduce and manage environmental (pollution) incidents and extreme events.
  • Innovation, research and development: share good practice and data for research, identify new technologies and consider collaborative research and partnership opportunities.

Prof John Ludden, chief executive officer of the BGS, said: 'I am very pleased to see this formal agreement on a number of ongoing issues that concern the BGS and the EA. The environmental challenges facing the UK are urgent and require well-founded, scientific evidence in support of decisions and the BGS will contribute to these through this MoU.'

23 May 2019


A cross–academy initiative by the UK National Academies has awarded funding to research teams that have proposed solutions for the globe’s most challenging issues of resilience.

Dr Michael Ellis, head of catchment science and observatories at the British Geological Survey (BGS), will lead a new project alongside Dr Bui Quang Hung from Vietnam National University and Dr Maria Aileen Leah G Guzman from Ateneo de Manila University.

The project aims to understand and increase the resilience to hazards of rapidly expanding cities in Vietnam and the Philippines. Asian cities and vulnerable populations are exposed to multiple natural hazards, which are generally exacerbated by human interventions including rapid urbanisation. This project will look at the interplay of culture (the human ’process’), hazards and their impacts, and catchment properties to develop tools and a better understanding of resilience for Vietnamese and Pilipino civil society

In total, 15 international and interdisciplinary consortia are receiving over £7 million from the UK Government–funded Challenge–led Grants.

The grants are part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government to support cutting–edge research and innovation that address the global issues faced by developing countries.

The grants aim to foster collaboration not just between disciplines but between countries, with each consortium being composed of one research group from the UK and two from developing countries.

16 May 2019

Seismic trace
The following preliminary information is available for this earthquake: DATE : 4 May 2019 ORIGIN TIME : 00:19 19.5s UTC LAT/LONG : 51.159° North / 0.243° West GRID REF : 522.9kmE / 141.5 kmN DEPTH : 2.3 km MAGNITUDE : 2.5 ML LOCALITY : Newdigate, Surrey INTENSITY : 3 EMS

4 May 2019

Coastal Change From Space

An international group of public agencies has won a major project funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). The consortium will be developing earth observation products to monitor and mitigate coastal erosion.

The coastal environment is constantly changing. Climate change, storm surges, rapid sea level rise and floods impact the coastline and have a substantial economic and human impact through shoreline inland migration.

The agencies and companies involved are:

  • British Geological Survey (UK)
  • IHCantabria (Spain)
  • Geological Survey Ireland (Ireland))
  • isardSAT (Spain)
  • adwäisEO (Luxembourg)
  • Arctus (Canada)
  • IGN-FI (France)

The Coastal Erosion Project is a project within the Science for Society slice of the 5th Earth Observation Envelope Programme (EOEP-5) run by the ESA. The consortium shall explore coastal change from space to prepare the ground for long-term exploitation of remote sensing from satellites by large user communities. It will provide substantial and concrete benefits to communities and will establish the status of coastal defence works and the vulnerability of the coast.

The consortium includes five champion organisations that represent the user communities, focusing on multiple representative coastal environments across four countries. The champion end users are:

  • The Government of Spain’s Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica, which is the national authority responsible for the Spanish coast.
  • The Geological Survey Ireland is the authoritative Irish earth science agency and part of the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, engaging with Ordnance Survey of Ireland and Office of Public Works.
  • The Government of Québec, which is the regional authority of Canada, responsible for the coast of St Lawrence in the province of Québec.
  • The British Geological Survey is a national expert working with regional and local authorities and engaging with Coastal Partnership East, Channel Coastal Observatory, the Environment Agency, the UK Hydrographic Office, the National Oceanographic Centre and coastal engineering consultants and academics. The BGS will coordinate the overall end-user engagement.
  • The potential export market of West Africa is represented by IGN FI (France), the technical operator for export of the Institut Géographique National.

Coastal Erosion is a 24-month project. It is expected to be an ideal platform for research and development in close partnership with the champion end users, therefore best representing the respective communities.

The source of EO data used will be the ground-breaking Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 2 missions of the European Copernicus constellation. This will be combined with data from previous missions.

The project will be presented at the Living Planet Symposium in Milan on 14 May 2019.

Read the full press release.

29 April 2019


A sequence of small earthquakes started near Newdigate, Surrey, with a magnitude 2.6 ML event on 1 April 2018.

BGS's seismic monitoring provides an impartial source of earthquake data and calculated earthquake magnitude and location. Data from our stations are viewable on the real-time seismograms page of our website.

16 April 2019

Professor Michael Stephenson

Mike Stephenson has been appointed Visiting Professor at Nanjing University in China. Nanjing University is one of China’s top universities and is ranked by Nature journal as number 12 in the world for excellence of research output. Mike will be presented with his professorship when he visits Nanjing in October this year. The professorship acknowledges the work Mike has done with Professor Junxuan Fan of the University of Nanjing to develop the Geobiodiversity Database, and the International Union of Geological Sciences Deeptime Digital Earth Program.

15 April 2019

Landslide at Burton Bradstock
The British Geological Survey (BGS) and the Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection (IRPI) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at fostering common research activities in the fields of geomorphology and engineering geology.

12 April 2019

Ocean image
British Geological Survey and Heriot-Watt scientists are research partners in the ambitious, £20 million UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub, which will transform the global response to the urgent challenges facing our oceans.
From plastic pollution to rising sea levels and acidification to over-fishing, the threats facing our oceans are well-known.
The UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub will bring together the competing interests and agendas of the individuals, groups and organisations that rely on our oceans to realise a vision of an integrated and sustainable approach to managing their use.
A key priority will be to ensure the knowledge, experiences and rights of those most-reliant upon the oceans, and disproportionately affected by our failure to protect them, are recognised.
The team will set out to uncover the less tangible values of the ocean, and the hidden 'trade-offs' in ocean decision-making.
The goal is to ensure decision-making is based on evidence of risks and opportunities among competing ocean uses.
Find out more

22 January 2019