Geoscience vocabularies

Mineral specimen of agate amygdale. Brown Carrick Hills, Ayrshire

We make extensive use of 'controlled vocabularies' to promote standardisation and interoperability between our databases and other information systems.

The BGS Information Management (Geology) Project gathers requirements and populates, promotes and maintains the key geological vocabularies, including those for rock and sediment types, and geological time.

Rock Classification Scheme

The Rock Classification Scheme (RCS) sets out a practical, logical and robust system for classifying and naming geological materials.

The Rock Classification Scheme is described in a series of four free pdf reports authored by BGS geoscientists.

It is also implemented as a database which is used to constrain and standardise references to geological materials in our other databases and information systems. Search the RCS database.

Other geoscience vocabularies

We maintain numerous controlled vocabularies in order to standardise terminology across the Survey's products and services.

These vocabularies cover subjects as diverse as geological time, published BGS geological maps, lithological properties (e.g. grain size and shape, colour, hardness), sedimentary structures, structural geology, chemical elements, types of laboratory analyses, and many more.

Many of these vocabularies may be browsed online, or may be accessed via a vocabulary web service.


Contact Enquiries for further information about the Rock Classification Scheme and other geoscience vocabularies.