Imperial College London

Taking the Tube to Parliament

London Tube

When undergraduate ESE student Jonathan Paul submitted his second year Geology and Man essay on the Geology of the London Underground he hoped only to receive a good mark.

Taking the Tube to Parliament

When undergraduate ESE student Jonathan Paul submitted his second year Geology and Man essay on the Geology of the London Underground he hoped only to receive a good mark. His work was, however, considered so good by staff that it was forwarded to the Geological Society of London and now has appeared as an article in Geology Today, a leading geology publication.

The article describes in great detail how the nature of London's bedrock has controlled the development of the capital's underground network, providing a fascinating account of the difficulties posed by tunnelling and stabilising London's often soft and porous sediments. It explains many of the puzzling features of the tube network, for example, why overland segments of the tube are often located where the London Clay is absent or too thin, and the unconsolidated sands of the Lambeth Group occur, or why there are so few underground tube lines south of the river. The article even explains the unusual features of some stations, such as the large metal tube over Sloane Square station that allows the Westbourne River to flow past without drenching commuters.

Jonathan Paul and PhD student Gareth Morris are now due to present posters to the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee of the House of Commons as part of the SET for Britain event, which is a poster competition and exhibition in Parliament. The overall aim of SET for BRITAIN is to encourage, support and promote Britain's early-stage and early-career research scientists, engineers and technologists who are the "engine-room" of continued progress in and development of UK research.

Whatever happens in the Houses of Commons one thing is for sure, taking the tube to Parliament will hold no surprises for Jonathan or Gareth.

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