Geospatial mapping at the BGS

Final year and great expectations!

As the 2nd year of my degree draws to a close, work towards my dissertation is in full swing. When I first found out about being accepted for a placement with the British Geological Survey in Keyworth, near Nottingham, emotions quickly flashed through astonishment, anticipation and anxiety. To be accepted to work alongside an organisation with such esteem is an incredible privilege yet the potential for this project to be a success is extremely exciting.

Estuaries, mines and particulate tracers: why this project?

As a physical geographer, rivers and estuaries have been a staple of my love for the subject and instantly stood out for me as an area of interest for my dissertation. The area of study in Cornwall also drew me in towards the placement as well, not only having a personal connection with the area but the rich history of mining and industrial activity as well as the substantial geomorphological stakeholder fluvial and estuarine processes have upon its landscape. When combined together, they create an intricate system in which the estuary can act as a capturing point for sediments and geochemical tracers created as a bi-product of mining.

How I shall be undertaking my Research

The bulk of my research is based around creating a series of geospatial maps through the programme of ArcGIS which will be taking place at the British Geological Survey, mapping how the trace metals of Tin, Lead, Iron, Manganese and Copper varies across the estuary within the deposited stream sediments. Creating a visual representation of this variation will hopefully enable me to interpret the how the geomorphological effects change in scale and magnitude across the estuary as well as to what extent we can understand mining wastage has had upon on the estuary. The project is in collaboration with the Tellus South West scheme, aiming to create a geochemical database, to provide real economic and environmental value to area of Cornwall. This makes my project even more intriguing as the regional data provided is “fresh off the press” and has never been used for a project before.

In conjunction with this data, I shall also be taking a sediment core from the north-east area of the estuary to provide an estimated chronology of mining sequences within the sediment profile, adding an extra dimension to my work at the BGS.

So on the 3rd August, I head up to Keyworth to begin construction of maps of the Fal Region and during my time there, I shall provide an in-depth look of my first week on site. I cannot wait to tell you all about it.

For live updates, follow the #rhulworkdiss hashtag on twitter!

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