For most people, anything more than a few tens of metres beneath their feet constitutes ‘deep Earth’. Yet, increasingly, the public are being confronted by contentious scientific issues that pertain directly to this obscure geological domain. Whether it is the demands of geological extraction or insertion, public
acceptability of our technical exploitation of the subsurface will be strongly dependent on socially-constructed conceptions of the unfamiliar subterranean
realm. The public tremors from last year’s ‘fracking crisis’ (when natural gas drilling near Blackpool induced a minor earthquake) continue to resonate
amongst a UK public increasingly anxious about further fracking investigations and the looming spectre of novel underground repositories for carbon capture
and storage (CCS) and nuclear waste.
The aim of this project is to explore UK public attitudes to and representations of the geological subsurface. The theoretical framework builds on attitudinal studies of the geological disposal of carbon (CCS) and nuclear waste. Such studies, although undertaken in the context of climate change and energy policy,
identify two critical knowledge gaps: (1) geographic variations and time evolution of public attitudes, and (2) case studies of public reaction to actual underground sites. This project addresses those gaps with research that investigates the public acceptability of complementary forms of geological intervention, namely mining and geothermal water injection. To achieve that, our objectives are to examine public acceptability concerning two imminent
subsurface interventions in the South West (the Cornish deep geothermal power project and the Hemerdon tungsten mine).
Further details of it are posted at http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/files/extranet/docs/R_ESC/IS%20Project%20Description%202012.pdf
For details about the application procedure, please see: http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/files/extranet/docs/R_ESC/NERC%20studentship%20-%20CRES.pdf