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Scottish Core Code

For decades small diameter rock cores have been made in rock outcrops across Scotland for the purpose of extracting samples for geological research. Core samples are made using a diamond-tipped cylindrical coring bit driven by portable petrol-powered drills. The hole produced when a core sample is removed is between 2 and 3 cm in diameter and can be up to 20 cm in depth.

Rock coring is a necessary element of geological research, essential for the advancement of geoscience. However, there is an increasing number of classic geological sites including SSSIs  and other locations across the country that have been defaced, and in some cases damaged, by some researchers sampling irresponsibly.

In response to the growing concern of both the general public and geoscientists to the increasing number of core holes defacing outcrop, SNH has produced the Scottish Core Code for those planning to extract rock cores from outcrops in Scotland.

The Code

If rock coring in Scotland for palaeomagnetic, geological, geochemical and related studies, please follow the Scottish Core Code. All essential coring, either within or outside Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), should be carried out in a responsible and environmentally acceptable way.

Ask yourself

  • Is coring essential?
  • Have you considered taking samples by means other than core extraction?

Seek permission

  • You are acting within the law if you obtain permission from the landowner to extract core samples.

Access responsibly

  • Consult the Scottish Outdoor Access Code prior to accessing land.  Be aware that some locations are protected by law and there may be restrictions on access and sampling.

Core responsibly

  • To minimise visual impact take cores from surfaces that are hidden from view and do not deface the most obvious rock faces.
  • Take only the minimum number of cores necessary and avoid closely spaced patterns.

Plug the holes and make good the surrounding area

  • To help disguise the holes plug them using the weathered end of the core, or use rock chips and dust from the rock cored, mixed with cement or suitable resin.

The Scottish Core Code is drawn from the Geologists' Association 'Code of Conduct for Rock Coring' external site  and the guidelines on outcrop core sampling authored by the Committee of Heads of University Geoscience Departments external site (CHUGD).


Last updated on Friday 26th February 2016 at 14:49 PM. Click here to comment on this page