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Peter Ravenscroft

Peter Ravenscroft

Research Associate

Currently undertaking an interdisciplinary study of arsenic pollution of groundwater worldwide to produce a synthesis that will guide the understanding, investigation and management of this global problem.


Peter Ravenscroft spent many years working on development projects in the Third World, mostly in tropical Asia but also the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. He has worked on projects to supply water for drinking and irrigation; assessing groundwater resources, investigating water quality issues, environmental management and disaster preparedness planning. He has also specialised in applying geographical information systems, database techniques and modelling to these issues. He spent ten years living and working in Bangladesh, where he became involved in researching arsenic pollution of groundwater. Since 2001, he has been based in the UK where his main interests have been in groundwater risk assessments and in all aspects of natural arsenic pollution.


  • 2005-present: Research Associate, Department of Geography, Cambridge University.
  • 2001-05: Principal Hydrogeologist, Arcadis Geraghty & Miller International Ltd., Cambridge, UK
  • 1985-2001: Senior Hydrogeologist, Mott MacDonald Ltd, Cambridge, UK
  • 1983-84: Hydrogeologist, Water Authority of the Cayman Islands
  • 1982-83: MSc student, Birmingham University.
  • 1981-82: Geologist, Ground Engineering Ltd, Borehamwood, UK
  • 1980-81: Research Assistant. Queen Mary College, London.


  • Diploma. Environment and Development. University of London. 1998.
  • MSc Hydrogeology. University of Birmingham. 1983.
  • BSc Geology. University of London. 1979


Locating, understanding the controls of, and developing solutions for the pollution of groundwater by arsenic, and other natural trace pollutants. The hydrogeology and hydrochemistry of alluvial aquifers, especially the role of Quaternary climate changes in determining the hydraulic properties and water quality of alluvial aquifers. Application of GIS and modelling to water resources and environmental management.

Selected publications:

  • 2005. Ravenscroft P., Burgess W. G., Ahmed K. M., Burren M., and Perrin, J. Arsenic in groundwater of the Bengal Basin, Bangladesh: Distribution, field relations, and hydrogeological setting. Hydrogeology Journal; 13, 5-6, 727-751.
  • 2004. McArthur J.M., Banerjee D.M., Hudson-Edwards K.A., Mishra R., Purohit R., Ravenscroft P., Cronin A., Howarth R.J., Chatterjee A., Talukder T., Lowry D., Houghton S., and Chadha, D.K. Natural organic matter in sedimentary basins and its relation to arsenic in anoxic groundwater: the example of West Bengal and its worldwide implications. Applied Geochemistry 19, 1255-1293.
  • 2004. Ravenscroft, P. and McArthur, J.M. Mechanism of regional pollution of groundwater by boron: the examples of Bangladesh and Michigan, USA. Applied Geochemistry. 19, 1413-1430.
  • 2003. Ravenscroft, P. An Overview of the Hydrogeology of Bangladesh. In: Rahman AA and Ravenscroft P (eds.). Groundwater Resources and Development in Bangladesh- background to the arsenic crisis, agricultural potential and the environment. Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies. University Press Ltd, Dhaka.
  • 2003. Ravenscroft, P. Technical and economic analysis of deep and shallow tubewell operation under comparable conditions. In: Rahman AA and Ravenscroft P (eds.). Groundwater Resources and Development in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies. University Press Ltd, Dhaka.
  • 2001. McArthur J. M., Ravenscroft P., Safiullah S., and Thirlwall M.F. Arsenic in groundwater: testing pollution mechanisms for sedimentary aquifers in Bangladesh. Water Resources Research 37, 109-117.
  • 2001. Ravenscroft, P, McArthur J.M., and Hoque B.A. Geochemical and palaeohydrological controls on pollution of groundwater by arsenic. In: Arsenic Exposure and Health Effects IV (eds. W.R. Chappell, C.O. Abernathy and R.L. Calderon) pp. 53-77, Elsevier, Oxford.
  • 2000. Nickson R.T., McArthur J. M., Ravenscroft, P., Burgess W.G. and Ahmed, K.M. Mechanism of arsenic poisoning of groundwater in Bangladesh and West Bengal. Applied Geochemistry 15, 403-413.
  • 2000. van Wonderen, J. and Ravenscroft, P. GIS and Modelling in the Management of Rural Water Supply. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Challenges of the Millennium. 26th WEDC Conference, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 5-9 November.
  • 1998. Ahmed, K.M., M. Hoque, M.K. Hasan, Ravenscroft P., and L.R. Chowdhury. Occurrence and origin of water well methane gas in Bangladesh. J. Geol. Soc. India, 51, 697-708.
  • 1998. Nickson R.T., McArthur J. M., Burgess W., Ahmed K. M., Ravenscroft P., and Rahman, M. Arsenic poisoning of Bangladesh groundwater. Nature 395, 338.
  • 1997. Ahmed, K.M., Hasan, M.K, Burgess, W.G, Dottridge, N.J, Ravenscroft P, and J van Wonderen. The Dupi Tila aquifer of Dhaka, Bangladesh: hydraulic and hydrochemical response to over-exploitation. In: J. Chilton (Ed.) 'Groundwater in the Urban Environment', v2, p19-30. International Association of Hydrogeologists, XXVII Congress. Nottingham, UK.
  • 1989. Clark, I.D., Ravenscroft, P. and Fritz, P. Origin and age of coastal groundwaters in Northern Oman. Proc. 10th Salt Water Intrusion Meeting (SWIM-10), Ghent Conference. W. de Breuck & L. Walschot (Eds.), v70, 75-84.

External activities

  • Chartered Geologist, Geological Society of London
  • Member, International Association of Hydrogeologists