BGS marine geoscience data collection

BGS White Ribbon Survey Boat

The BGS manages seabed and sub-seabed geoscience survey data undertaken by the BGS and other organisations. These data are maintained as part of the National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) and as the Marine Environment Data and Information Network (MEDIN) geology data archive centre (DAC).

The data were collected using various drilling, coring, sampling and geophysical techniques and include digital data, paper records and physical material.

Data are freely available online where possible under OpenGeoscience and the Open Government Licence. However, some data are not yet processed for online delivery and in these cases, there may be a charge to cover data preparation.

If you have data to add to the dataset, see our data deposit guidelines.

Use the BGS Offshore GeoIndex to view and download data and for more details of data held.

Paper records

BGS Marine Paper Records, Example Sparker, 1974

The marine data go back to the 1960s and thus contain a large amount of paper records. Scans are available for view and download through the Offshore GeoIndex, though a proportion remain on paper only and are available on request.

The records range from simple geological descriptions, graphical borehole logs and seismic data plots through to full technical reports.

Geophysical data

Seismic reflection GeoIndex layer

Digital data are held together with legacy analogue data and paper records. Where possible, records have been scanned and data have been migrated to modern media. A proportion remains on paper; these are available on request.

Seismic reflection profiling data

Sub-seabed imaging gives information about structures beneath the seabed. Access data via the seismic reflection layer in the Offshore GeoIndex. Digital segy data are available on request.

Multibeam backscatter and side-scan sonar data

Backscatter GeoIndex layer

Seabed imaging provides information about the seabed that can be used in seabed characterisation. View and download backscatter data via the backscatter layers and side-scan data via the sonar layer in the Offshore GeoIndex. Associated bathymetry data is available from the ADMIRALTY marine data portal.

Gravity and magnetic data

Unadjusted ship gravity and magnetic data collected by the BGS or received from various commercial and academic surveys.

Geological sample data

Seabed sediment data

Geological sample data from cores, boreholes, grabs, etc. are available via the Offshore GeoIndex. Much of the legacy paper records have also been transcribed to digital form.

Particle size analyses

This dataset, primarily at seabed, includes folk analysis, gravel, sand and mud fractions, carbonate content and phi/half phi analysis.


Geological descriptions

Geological descriptions and observations of the various types of lithological units found in offshore samples.

Geotechnical analyses

Compressive and shear strength measurements for selected sample locations.

Geochemical analyses

Geochemical data, consisting of a set of 38 elements, available for seabed samples collected from a variety of sediment types. For more information, see this report.

Physical geological sample material


Marine geological samples are managed as part of the BGS materials collections in the National Geological Repository (NGR). Contact us to arrange access.

Offshore core material

Borehole, vibrocore and gravity core and seabed drillcore material collected by the BGS and other organisations from the sea areas around the UK.

Seabed samples

Seabed surface samples are material collected using equipment such as grabs or dredges from around the UK.

Mobile racking - Keyworth

Offshore hydrocarbon wells

The UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) hydrocarbon well collection contains drillcore material and samples of cuttings. Search the wells here or via the Offshore GeoIndex and view images of core where available.

MCA CHP seabed samples

Seabed samples from Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) UK Civil Hydrography Programme (CHP) bathymetric surveys and associated data are held and available for further analysis.