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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

Meet the team

Picture of Peter Brabham

Dr Peter Brabham

Senior Lecturer in Applied Geology & Geophysics

+44 29208 74334
Picture of Pan He

Dr Pan He

Lecturer in Environmental Science and Sustainability

+44 29208 74283
Picture of Tim Jones

Dr Tim Jones

Reader in Environmental Geoscience

+44 29208 74924
Picture of Ashley Patton

Miss Ashley Patton

Research student

No picture for Richard Sandford

Dr Richard Sandford

Lecturer in Environmental Geosciences




School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Committed to achieving the highest standards in research and education and to providing a rich and varied research-led environment where all staff and students can achieve their full potential to the benefit of society.


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Research that matters

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Postgraduate research

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Our research impact

Our research case studies highlight some of the areas where we deliver positive research impact.