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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

Earth Sciences

The Earth Sciences are going through an extremely important and interesting period in their history. A large part of this is due to the fears over climate change and the possible repercussions of this. Another reason is the ongoing battle to predict and deal with natural disasters; something that has been very much to the fore over the last few years.

The Earth Sciences cover a wide range of separate but related fields and their sub-branches:

  • Geology (embracing geomorphology, geophysics, geochemistry including gemmology)
  • Hydrology
  • Meteorology (and within this climatology, and extreme weather)
  • Oceanography (which includes the study of tsunamis).

It is here also that one would come to study natural phenomena like volcanoes and earthquakes (seismology). The Earth Sciences also include the study of all aspects of the Earth's history (paleontology, paleozoology etc. - paleo simply means very old).

This long list is expanding much more into the exploration of the solar system as a whole, thanks to the many recent, and continuing, space missions sending up information gathering probes to other planets, comets and meteors.

Science Library Resources

The Science Library has a wealth of books covering all of these subject areas.

Journals: Please see the main catalogue


The Science Library also has an interesting collection of historical material, not only for the UK but also for some other countries. These include the Geological Survey of India 1912-1968 (including Records, Memoirs and Bulletins); Mineral Resources of Canada bulletin 1904-1907; Mineral Resources of the United States 1882-1931 (some missing); the Geological Survey of Pennsylvania from the 1880/90s (complete 98 vols. 2nd ed.). Other old journals include the Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Atmospheric Environment, Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics and British Rainfall (until1968), the follow on to Symon's Meteorological Magazine (from 1866, incomplete). A more complete list can be found on the online catalogue.

British Geological Survey

We also have an extensive collection of Geological Surveys and Sheet Memoirs published by the British Geological Survey (BGS).
Founded in 1835, the British Geological Survey is the world's longest established national geological survey and the United Kingdom's main centre for earth science information and expertise. The BGS is a component organisation of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which is the UK's leading body for research and monitoring in the environmental sciences.

The Geological Surveys fall into three broad categories: Economic Memoirs, General Memoirs and District Memoirs, which are further sub-divided. These cover England, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Ireland (the Science Library does not hold a complete collection, but has a full index of these).

Geological Survey maps can be found in Local Studies and History on the 6th floor - see their webpage:

Maps in Local Studies and History