OR/15/069 Executive summary

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Waters, C N, Terrington, R, Cooper, M R, Raine, R B, and Thorpe, S. 2015. The construction of a bedrock geology model for the UK: UK3D_v2015. British Geological Survey Internal Report, OR/15/069.

This report is available for download on the BGS UK3D web page to allow the reader to better understand the context and development of UK3D, a national network, or ‘fence diagram model’, of bedrock geology cross-sections. It also explains the development of the metadata underpinning the model and therefore supports use and understanding of UK3D.

The pre-existing BGS GB3D model provided the only nationally consistent representation of the bedrock geology of Great Britain to depths of at least 1  However, the existing GB3D_v2014 model lacked equivalent scale presentation of a fence diagram model for Northern Ireland. It was recognised that in order to provide comparable geological information across the United Kingdom it was necessary to upgrade the model to a UK3D fence diagram model incorporating Northern Ireland, with rigorous peer review performed to enable an enhanced dataset.

The objective of this study was therefore to further develop the GB3D model, outlined by Mathers et al. (2014a[1] and b[2]), into a UK3D model by the incorporation of 36 deep boreholes and a framework of 15 cross-sections for Northern Ireland.

The appropriate applications for the revised model are for geoscience communication and education to illustrate the national and regional bedrock geology of the United Kingdom to a depth of at least 1 km with an intended resolution of use in the 1:250 000 to 1:1 million scale range. Limitations inherent in the model preclude such applications as detailed geological assessments, resource-reserve estimation and exploration, and any representation or use outside the intended resolution range.

The new model produced by this study UK3D_v2015 supersedes the earlier 2014 version for England and Wales, for which areas of the fence diagrams remain the same. The Scottish portion of the model remains unchanged from the earlier 2012 version. The new dataset is a wholly owned BGS product and as with its forerunners it is freely available from the BGS website http://bgs.ac.uk as downloads in a variety of formats.


  1. Mathers, S J, Bloomfield, J P Smith N J P, and Terrington R. 2012a. iHydrogeology WP1: A revised geological fence diagram for England and Wales. British Geological Survey Internal Report, CR/12/056. 25pp.
  2. Mathers, S J, Terrington, R L, Waters, C N, and Leslie, A.G. 2012b. Model metadata report for GB3D National Bedrock Fence Diagram GB3D_v.2012. British Geological Survey Open Report OR/12/079 14pp. http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/20686/