Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Visit of The Rt Hon David Willets MP

This afternoon the Rt Hon David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, visited the British Geological Survey to open the National Geological Repository (NGR).

The NGR holds over 500Km of drill core (enough to stretch between London and Edinburgh), cuttings from over 23 000 wells and boreholes, over three million specimens of the UK biostratigraphic (fossil) record, paleontological, rock and mineral collections including: Some of Darwin’s early materials, early material form Antarctic and the National Building Stone collection.  In the BGS library (part of the NGR) we hold 500,000 books and reports, 12 000 journal titles, 75 000 photos, 30 000 items in archive some dating back 500 years (see our website for more detail).

The NGR at the British Geological Surveys Headquarters, near Nottingham.

The NGR was created following the extension of the BGS core store and the relocation of the DECC oil and gas cores from Gilmerton, Edinburgh to the BGS headquarters in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire. The objective has been to recognise the importance of these collections now that the majority of BGS holdings are in one place, where they can be fully exploited in a suite of examination facilities and technical laboratories.

To achieve this, we extended the existing core store by about 100% and installed state of the art mobile racking, we moved the fossil collections into refurbished space and we installed mobile racking to extend the paper records storage by 7.5km.

All of the 300km of offshore cores that were moved from Gilmerton, Edinburgh have been photographed in high resolution and the images have been made freely available on line. Our communications team created a video of the whole process that you can watch below and you can find out more information on our 'A Core Story webpages.

The NGR now contains the largest archive of subsurface information in the UK, incorporating onshore and offshore material from BGS, DECC, the Coal authority and other national collections (see summary list on our website). We have also incorporated the British Antarctic Survey’s (NERC) geological collections as part of the NGR.

In all, these collections allow evaluation of onshore and offshore resources in hydrocarbons, mineral resources, the potential for radioactive waste containment, Carbon Capture and Storage and geothermal energy and underground energy storage, in addition to the basic third dimensional geology of the UK and material from areas across the world where BGS has worked.

The NGR is open to industrial and academic users and for the oil and gas records we have 250 unique groups of industrial users since 2007 (mainly repeat users) and also numerous university users for advanced level teaching.
Typical photograph of a section or core. See here to search the database
The Future for the NGR

BGS is in the process of planning scanning of the onshore cores and remaining records and maps that will underpin shale and coal gas and the renewal of mineral and geothermal exploration in the UK. In addition, BGS plans to release all of its international holdings to encourage economic development in mineral exploration world-wide.  We expect the NGR core store to be full within the next 10 years and a new extension is already being considered.

The collections will be opened to accommodation of critical collections from HEI's as some of these become available and Universities change programmes and professors retire. BGS will create a network in rock physics that will include the key universities in the UK and will link with the foremost institutions in research in subsurface infrastructure research across Europe.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if they will be any questions around shelf stacking