Consolidated Geothermal Database UK (CGD-UK): A digital open license database for temperature and thermal conductivity in the UK.

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 1 of this Preprint.

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Comment #102 Andrew Kingdon @ 2023-06-27 21:32

Comment on Dickinson and Ireland, 2023 Consolidated Geothermal Database UK

The increasing interest in geothermal energy and change to active assessment of geothermal prospectivity of the UK requires a new emphasis on data that is of sufficient quality to properly de-risk identification of prospects. Dickinson & Ireland 2023 (pre-print) rightly point out shortcomings in availability of such data. While we agree with this observation, we wish to provide some context relating to the BGS data sets that have been incorporated into Dickinson and Ireland 2023.
The British Geological Survey (BGS) has a mandated role for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to provide geothermal advice and technical expertise and through hosting the National Geoscience Data Centre (part of the NERC Environmental Data Centre) acts as the place of deposit for subsurface information for the UK. As part of this role, BGS holds data from its own historical projects (such as the UK geothermal programme) but also from UK onshore drilling, e.g. for the UK hydrocarbon industry. Until recently, this data was not openly available to users in its raw form. As the national geological survey, BGS had access to view this data. However, for external publication, raw data from such sources could not be supplied due to commercial restrictions. Only processed derivatives of this data were shared as maps, products or within peer-review publications and reports. Metadata was not published alongside this data.
The Geothermal Data Catalogue (Rollin et al., 1987), that has been incorporated into Dickinson and Ireland 2023, is one such example. Busby et al. (2011) have highlighted the limitations of that data set, as repeated in Dickinson and Ireland 2023. In its current format, the data is published without any context relating to the types of data, their accuracy or precision. This makes it difficult for users to undertake meaningful assessments of the reliability of the data and is one reason why the data set has not been made publicly available by the BGS in its current form, along with some known uncertainties around IPR (as acknowledged in Dickinson and Ireland 2023).
Following changes in data management practise and responsibilities, a range of previously restricted data sets have recently become available. For example, UK hydrocarbon industry derived geophysical and geological data is now available free of charge to all users under an open licence (UK Open Government Licence, a CC by attribution) from the North Sea Transition Authority through the GeoIndex on the BGS website ( ). Through this data, there is now an opportunity for accessing this legacy data directly as well as for assessing its accuracy.
BGS is currently undertaking a programme of work that is focussed on reviewing its data, and resolving outstanding IPR issues, with the aim of releasing data packages that are deemed to be of adequate quality for use in geothermal exploration. Utilising these now openly available original data files (described above), BGS will produce data sets where all data points are accurately located and described so that these can be reliably incorporated into regional geothermal assessments. Providing such validated and verified data sets will enrich the UK geothermal database.
Busby, J.; Kingdon, A. ; Williams, J. 2011 The measured shallow temperature field in Britain. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 44 (3). 373-387.
Rollin, K. 1987. Catalogue of geothermal data for the land area of the United Kingdom. Third revision: April 1987. Investigation of the Geothermal Potential of the UK. British Geological Survey.


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Alex Dickinson , Mark Ireland


Variations in subsurface heat flow within the upper crust control the distribution of geothermal resources. Development of a robust understanding of these variations requires reliable measurements of temperature and thermal conductivity. To date, measurements of temperature and conductivity onshore the UK have been unavailable in an accessible, clearly structured digital format. Here, we rectify this problem by presenting a consolidated relational database of existing measurements. The database includes comprehensive metadata and has a consistently formatted and linked structure to enable repeatable and reliable estimation of geothermal heat flow. The database, referred to as the Consolidated Geothermal Database UK (CGD-UK), is structured as a series of comma-separated values files, with a master table providing an index of individual boreholes at which measurements have been made. CGD-UK is currently populated with data from northern England and southern Scotland for 209 locations at which temperature and/or conductivity have been measured. It also includes >30,000 data points that have been digitized using automated optical character recognition, but still require QC. CGD-UK serves as the only compressive, open-licence digital database for onshore geothermal data in the UK and provides the foundation for a single database for UK geothermal data, with a digital object identifier (DOI).



Earth Sciences, Geology, Geophysics and Seismology, Natural Resource Economics, Oil, Gas, and Energy, Other Earth Sciences, Tectonics and Structure


Geothermal, temperature, Heat flow


Published: 2023-04-09 04:18

Last Updated: 2023-04-09 11:18


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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