Cities, historical mining and geoscience – experience from the Clyde Basin, UK

McKenzie, Andy. 2023 Cities, historical mining and geoscience – experience from the Clyde Basin, UK. [Lecture] In: UK CARE 2023, Wenzhou, China, 02 Dec 2023. (Unpublished)

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Many cities across the world owe their economic prosperity to the exploitation of minerals. In the UK the industrial revolution of the 18th century was driven by, and drove, the exploitation of coal reserves often from deep mines. As the mines, and associated industries developed, so did urbanisation. Many cities and towns in the UK are built on iron ore deposits or coalfields and, although mining largely ceased by the 1980s, have to deal with the legacy of the mining. From the perspective of town planners and administrators the abandoned mines were initially seen as a problem, and geoscientists were called on to deal with the associated geohazard, for instance subsidence, acid mine drainage and contaminated land. The Clyde basin in the UK, with Glasgow as it’s major city, is a prime example. Industry developed around mining of coal and iron, and subsequently around engineering and especially shipbuilding. Mining in the city ceased in the 1950, and the city has faced a transition from heavy industry to a post-industrial economy. In the 1990s the local administration began to recognize that geohazards and contaminated land associated with mining was a key constraint on re-development – but they lacked a proper understanding of mine location and where contamination might have occurred. Working with the British Geological Survey a systematic programme of mapping and analysis was started to rectify this. This was complemented by changes to planning regulations designed to better share geoscience data, whether collected by central government, local administrations or the private sector. More recently we have begun to appreciate a slightly more positive aspect to the mining legacy – the opportunity to develop mine waters as part of ground source heating and cooling schemes. The British Geological Survey has a major programme, UKGEOS, to better understand the role of the geosciences in an energy transition to net-zero. Mines under Glasgow are being investigated as a potential source of heat and thermal storage. This programme includes detailed mapping and modelling and the installation of boreholes that can be used for research and pilot scale implementation of mine water heating schemes.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Lecture)
Additional Keywords: IGRD, GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater
Date made live: 08 Feb 2024 10:14 +0 (UTC)

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