British Geological Survey

Founded in 1835, the British Geological Survey (BGS) is the world's oldest national geological survey and the United Kingdom's premier centre for earth science information and expertise. It looks after the National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC), which is one of 7 Natural Environment Research Council data centres.


The National Geological Materials Collection - part of the NGDC – includes:

  • all the geoscience material collections of the BGS, including most of the contents of the former Geological Museum, South Kensington (now operated as ‘The Earth Galleries’ by the Natural History Museum)
  • reference material from all UK onshore and offshore hydrocarbons boreholes
  • numerous donations of mineralogical, petrological and palaeontological samples
  • Borehole core collections

    The British Geological Survey houses collections of borehole cores, broken cores and cuttings (rock chips) at Keyworth, Nottingham and Loanhead, Edinburgh. Find out more.

  • Palaeontology collections

    Learn about the biostratigraphy and palaeontology reference collection and the micropalaeontology collection.

Additional resources


A European directive to make available all environmental data across Europe.


The website gives details of what samples may be available at different quadrants from the sea of the UK.

Visit Sea-Sed
BGS Language Dictionary

This resource defines specific terms used to describe datasets. It mentions 'Discovery Metadata'. This term is not to be confused with the Discovery expeditions - it describes minimum data to describe usefulness of datasets.

Contact information

British Geological Survey
NG12 5GG

Tel: 0115 936 3143
Fax: 0115 936 3276

BGS enquiries webpage

Personnel interviewed from the British Geological Survey:

  • Mike Howe - Chief Curator
  • Jeremy Giles - Manager, National Geoscience Data Centre
  • Linda Ault - Data Management
  • Paul Shepherd - Palaeontology Collections Manager
  • Ian Wilkinson - Micropalaeontologist