BGS Marine Operations is a marine engineering facility that provides sampling and sensing equipment to investigate seabed and sub-seabed geology and processes. The equipment includes 2 types of remote seafloor corer / drill:
- RD2: a multi-barreled rotary drill and corer that can penetrate up to 50 m below sea floor and operate in water depths up to 4000m.
- RD1: a single-shot corer that can be used as a rotary corer for rocks and harder sediments (penetrating up to 5m below sea floor) or as a vibrocorer for use in softer sediments (penetrating up to 6m below sea floor). RD1 can operate in water depths up to 2000m.
RD2 has three down-hole memory logging tools: magnetic susceptibility, dual-induction resistivity and a combined optical imaging-acoustic imaging-spectral gamma ray tool. These tools allow characterisation of geology surrounding the borehole. Ancillary equipment is available to characterise bottom conditions at drilling sites: a sensor assembly (dissolved O2, CH4, temperature, pH, and redox), drill-mounted Niskin bottles to sample water column fluids and a tracer delivery system for microbiology studies. Also available is an inert down-hole plug system to seal boreholes from the water column.
BGS MOPS serves BGS Marine Geoscience, other BGS research groups, UK and overseas universities, research institutes, industry and geological surveys. We provide independent and expert geological advice, research and data acquisition services to de-risk and deliver projects that require understanding of the seabed and sub-seabed. Current research goals include improving our understanding of seabed mineral deposits and the impact of their extraction, new onshore-offshore coastal geological models, new engineering properties/seabed constraint maps, and new high-resolution substrate and geomorphological models. BGS MOPS innovation goals include increasing levels of automation, autonomy and AI to improve speed, core quality, reliability and safety. The Blue Economy is becoming increasingly important for the UK, its territories and developing countries. Novel marine technologies are opening opportunities for new economic activity in the sea and on the seabed. These opportunities come at a time when the ocean is under threat from climate change, pollution and overuse, and Blue Economy must be developed responsibly and sustainably. UK policymakers increasingly acknowledge the challenges (e.g. Foresight Future of the Sea - A Report from the Government Chief Scientific Adviser). Geological knowledge is crucial to fully understand the seabed, its potential resources, its ecology, and how it can change through natural processes and human activities.
BGS MOPS operates from a modern purpose-built workshop and yard facility that includes:
- 40t gantry crane and container handling capability
- 6.5m deep x 4m diameter fresh water test tank
- A test borehole for geological drilling tests
- Mechanical and electrical workshops
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