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Rare earth elements

Rare Earth Elements

The rare earth elements (REE) have a wide variety of uses and applications and the increasing demand for REE, and constraints on their supply, have led to concerns about their future availability.

Akosombo Dam

Shale Gas

Geological expertise is vital for the safe extraction of shale gas as well as helping to understand, quantify and minimize these risks.

Akosombo Dam

The Water-Energy Nexus

The energy sector relies on the use of water for many of its core processes; at the same time, energy is needed to produce and deliver clean water which results in a crucial interdependence of two diminishing reserves.

Coral Reef

Climate Change

See the Society's 2020 Climate Change Statement, along with our Joint Climate Communique, issued in July 2015.

Geology for Society

Original report

Geology for Society cover

Aimed at policy and decision-makers as well as the wider public, 'Geology for Society' outlines the importance of geology to our society.

Geology for Society is now available in 13 Languages

Why does Geology Matter?

Geology is the study of the Earth's structure and history. It underpins the provision of resources to the UK’s population and industry, delivers a wide range of essential services, and helps us understand how we can live more sustainably on our planet, thanks to our strong skills base, education and research.

Find out more about the wide range of issues underpinned by Geology:

Canary Wharf

Geology for the Economy

Geology plays an essential role in many areas of the economy. Economic growth and sustainability, as well as societal well-being, will require reliable supplies of energy and mineral resources, a dependable supply of clean water and the secure and sustainable production of food. All this will be contingent on sustained investment in technology, infrastructure, education and skills development.


The need for transition to a low-carbon economy is urgent. However, as we manage this change, we will continue to be dependent for many more years on fossil fuels. Geoscience skills are essential at every step of the energy cycle, from location of energy sources through to their safe, reliable extraction, use and subsequent disposal or recycling.


A secure, high quality fresh water supply is vital to global health and wellbeing. Geologists provide greater understanding of water movement and aquifer behaviour, as well as identifying and providing solutions to water contamination.
Mineral Resources

Mineral Resources

Modern industry, technology and consumer products require a vast array of minerals, both abundant and rare. Their extraction and trade forms a major part of our national and global economy. As the population and demand for resources grow, innovative technologies are required to locate and extract minerals.
Engineering Lightbox

Engineering the Future

Understanding ground conditions and how buildings, infrastructure and people interact with their geological environment is essential to assuring public safety and well-being, delivering value for money and meeting the challenges of living with environmental change.

Environmental Health

Centuries of industrial and urban development in the UK have left their mark in our land, rivers and atmosphere. Contamination can spread between the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere, all of which are interconnected.
Holistic Environmental Management

Valuing and protecting our environment

The importance of the geology and subsurface in environmental management cannot be overstated as it underpins all of of the key environmental processes. Complex interconnectivity and recycling between the atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere means that environmental management cannot be restricted to artificial environmental boundaries.


Geohazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides and tsunami continue to have devastating effects on populations, landscapes and economies around the world. The understanding and communication of these hazards and how they will impact on various populations is of paramount importance.
Climate Change

Climate Change

The geological record contains abundant evidence of the ways in which Earth’s climate has changed in the past. That evidence is highly relevant to understanding how it may change in the future.
smoking chimney

The Anthropocene

Human activity has had a dramatic impact on the landscape and subsurface of our planet, driving significant atmospheric, chemical, physical and biological changes. This has led some to suggest that we are entering a new geological epoch – often referred to as the Anthropocene.
Volcanic Ash

Communicating geology: time, uncertainty and risk

Geological issues are increasingly prominent in the everyday lives of people across the UK – and professional geoscientists are having to learn to communicate their science better, to enable the wider population to participate in informed debate.
Geology for the Future

Geology for the Future

The continued provision and ongoing improvement of the areas discussed in this document hinges on the availability of high quality education, skills training and research. Good training and research funding is required to maintain the skill and research base in the UK as well as compete internationally.