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Sustainable Geoenvironments

Our group conducts applied research into the interactions between the geosphere and human and environmental well-being.

We conduct applied interdisciplinary research into the interactions between the geosphere, humans and environmental wellbeing. We particularly focus on the development of sustainable, low-carbon and eco-friendly geologically-based technologies.

Research includes elucidating the potential adverse health effects and medical benefits of geological materials such as:

  • mineral dusts
  • volcanic ash
  • coal fly ash
  • bioreactive clays.

Optimising geophysical techniques for the mapping and characterisation of contaminated land, disused and closing landfills. The development of new technologies to map and delineate old mine workings, enabling new uses for old mining works. Benefits will include:

  • heat recovery
  • gas energy
  • sustainability of water and energy resources.


We aim to better understand the relationship between geology and human occupational and environmental diseases. Our expertise will better enable the management and repurposing of historic mines.

Geology and human health

We are researching into the relationship between geology and geologically-resourced materials and human health. This research encompasses both the potential benefits such as natural antibiotics, as well as adverse health effects such as coal-burning airborne particles, respiratory health, and cancer. Recent work is looking at the relationship between microscopic airborne particles and the transmission of COVID-19.

Technology and industrial legacies

Technology is being optimised to maximise the potential of repurposing historic mines for sustainable heat and gas energy recovery. In addition the innovative use of airborne drone technology is used for the mapping and risk assessment of mine waste, contaminated land, and legacy landfills. This work is integrated into the health studies and the potential risks of landfill leachates to human and environmental health.


Yangang, X. (Lead PI; Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University) and Jones, T. (Co-PI) and other Co-Applicants Mobile Crowd Sensing Network: Engaging with Communities to Explore Multiple Benefits of Urban Green Infrastructure. Engage/Inspire, Cardiff University. 2016, £5,000

Schuhmacher, M. (Lead PI; Chemical Engineering Department, Center of Environmental Food and Toxicology Technology) and Jones, T. (Co-PI) and other Co-Applicants Assessing the Exposure and the Health Effects of Ambient Fine and Ultrafine Particles in Areas of Intensive Industrial Activity (UltraPAR). Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad. 2016, £150,000

Ho, K-F. (Lead PI), Jones, T. (Co-PI) and BéruBé, K. (Co-PI) Characterisation and bioreactivity of PM2.5 near landfill sites and their impact on public health in Hong Kong. HMRF, Hong Kong Government, China (2016). HK$856,928; £68,044

Soberon, F. S. (University of Tarragona, Spain), Schuhmacher, M. (Lead PI), BéruBé, K. (Co-PI and Supervisor) and Jones, T. (Co-Supervisor) Toxicity of Fugitive Dust Particles Produced by Cement Factories. Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competition: PhD Short Exchange Studentship. 2015/16, £5,000

Hu, Y. (Chinese University of Mining and Technology, Beijing, China), Shao, L. (Lead PI), BéruBé, K. (Host Supervisor) and Jones, T. (Co-Supervisor) Study on the Physicochemistry & Toxicology of Indoor PM in Xuanwei Lung Cancer Area. China Scholarship Council, Ministry of Education, PRC; PhD Long Exchange Studentship. 2015/16, £20,000

Selected publications

Academic staff

Dr Peter Brabham

Dr Peter Brabham

Senior Lecturer in Applied Geology & Geophysics

+44 (0)29 2087 4334
Dr Tim Jones

Dr Tim Jones

Reader in Environmental Geoscience

+44 (0)29 2087 4924
Dr Richard Sandford

Dr Richard Sandford

Lecturer in Environmental Geosciences


Postgraduate students

Ashley Patton

Ashley Patton

Research student


Associated staff

Dr Morten Andersen

Dr Morten Andersen

Senior Lecturer

+44 (0)29 2087 4943
Dr Claire Earlie

Dr Claire Earlie

Lecturer in Coastal Processes

+44 (0)29 2087 5563
Dr Pan He

Dr Pan He

Lecturer in Environmental Science and Sustainability


Air pollution and geoenvironmental laboratory

Air pollution

  • bespoke, mobile, high-volume air vacuum pump, 1,100 liters/minute
  • tiered foam impaction head, over 10micron, 10-2.5 micron, 2.5-1.0 micron, under 1 micron particles
  • three Model 3785 Condensation Particle Counters, for ambient air pollution monitoring
  • MicrodustPro handheld dust monitor
  • TSI air pollution monitor
  • nine 10 litres/minute vacuum air pumps
  • bespoke dry dust fine particles separator
  • preparation bench for SEM, XRD and ICP-MS samples.


  • 4” submersible borehole pump with control panel and petrol generator
  • borehole bailers, slugs and downhole loggers
  • heidolph leachate tumbler
  • herdeus sample drying oven
  • double-distilled water maker
  • -80C freezer
  • sonic baths, desk top test tube agitators, weighting scales, heating plates, mini-centrifuge, sample storage facilities
  • preparation benches for sample filtering and gas monitoring
  • field water probes for pH, temp, DO.

Soils laboratory

  • mechanical sieve shakers
  • sieves and sample splitters
  • sedigraph particle size analyser
  • pyknometers
  • vacuum desiccator
  • hydrometers
  • 3 x Drying ovens
  • 1 x Muffle furnace
  • cone penetration test kit
  • 4 x electronic balances
  • 5 x lever arm oedometers and ancillaries
  • direct shear box rigs and ancillaries.

Field store: resistivity and shallow seismic

  • IRIS 72 Channel Electrical tomography system
  • GEM-2 Ground conductivity system with DGPS input
  • ATLAS COPCO vibrocorer with capability to sample to 10m depth through Quaternary and soft sediment.