Geological Survey of India

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Geological Survey of India
Geological Survey of India logo.jpg
Central Headquarters - Geological Survey of India - Indian Museum Campus - Kolkata 2014-02-14 3249.JPG
Central Headquarters. 27 JN Road, Kolkata.
Agency overview
Formed 1851
Jurisdiction British India (1851-1947)
Republic of India (1947 to date)
Headquarters Calcutta (now Kolkata)

Geological Survey of India (GSI), established in 1851, is a government organization in India which is an office attached to the Ministry of Mines of Union Government of India for conducting geological surveys and studies. It is one of the oldest of such organizations in the world and the second oldest survey in the country. GSI is the prime provider of basic earth science information to the government, industry and the general public, as well as responsive participant in international geoscientific fora. The vibrant steel, coal, metals, cement and power industries.


The GSI in 1870. Standing: Ferdinand Stoliczka, Robert Bruce Foote, William Theobald, F. R. Mallet, Valentine Ball, Wilhelm Heinrich Waagen, W. L. Willson; Sitting: A. Tween, W. King, Thomas Oldham, Henry Benedict Medlicott, C. A. Hackett

The roots of the Geological Survey of India may be traced to 1836 when a Committee, named Coal Committee, followed by more such committees, was formed by the British East India Company to study and explore availability of coals in the eastern parts of India. David Hiram Williams, one of the first surveyors for the British Geological Survey, was appointed 'Surveyor of coal districts and superintendent of coal works, Bengal' on 3 Dec 1845 and arrived in India the following February. The phrase "Geological Survey of India" was first used on Williams's Map of the Damoodah and Adji Great Coal Field (Dec 1847).[1] On 4 February 1848, Williams was appointed the "Geological Surveyor of the Geological Survey of India" but he fell off his elephant and, soon after, died with his assistant, a Mr F. B. Jones, of 'jungle fever' on 15 Nov 1848,[2] after which John McClelland took over as the "Officiating Surveyor" until his retirement on 5 March 1851.

The work of the Geological Survey remained primarily exploration for coal, mainly for powering steam transport, and later oil reserves, and ore deposits. In 1852, Sir Thomas Oldham, father of Richard Dixon Oldham, broadened the ambit of the scope of functioning of the Geological Survey of India, by advancing the argument with the government that it was not possible to find coal without first mapping the geological structure of India. Thus, the Geological Survey commenced to map the rock structures and strata, and their age and relationships in India. Because the method of Radiometric dating wasn't developed at that time, the age of rock strata had to be estimated from the presence of index fossils, and consequently, much of the geologists' efforts were spent in finding these index fossils.

The Geological Survey of India made important contributions to seismology by its meticulous investigations and studies and detailed reports on numerous Indian earthquakes of the 19th and early 20th century. Richard Dixon Oldham, who worked for the Geological Survey like his father, first correctly identified p- and s-waves, and hypothesized and calculated the diameter of the Earth's core.

GSI’s activities in mineral exploration as well as baseline surveys have increased manifold in order to sustain the momentum of national economic development and to meet the increasing demands of various stakeholders. Over the years, it has not only developed into a huge repository of precious geoscientific data applied in various developmental sectors in the country, but has also attained the status of a geo-scientific organisation of international repute. The principal function of GSI relate to creation and updation of national geoscientific data and mineral resource assessment, air-borne and marine surveys and conducting multifarious geo-technical, geo-environmental and natural hazards studies, glaciology, seismotectonics, etc. and to nurture studies on fundamental research. In all the developmental facets of the country including coal, steel, cement, metals/ minerals and power industries, GSI made neat contribution and remained relevant in the national context. Outcome of work of GSI has immense societal value as well as relevant to global perspective adopting state-of-the-art technologies and using methodologies, which are cutting-edge. Functioning and annual programmes of GSI assumes significance in the national perspective since it is directly related to delivering the public good.With its headquarters at Kolkata, GSI has six Regional offices at Lucknow, Jaipur, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Shillong and Kolkata and offices in almost all States of the country. The Geological Survey of India is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines. The Union Cabinet constituted a High Powered Committee (HPC)under the chairmanship of Mr S. Vijay Kumar the Additional Secretary Ministry of Mines [3] to thoroughly review the functioning of Geological Survey of India and assess its capacity to meet the emerging challenges taking into account the technological and manpower resources of the organization. The report of the Committee was submitted in March 2009 and approved by the Union Cabinet in October 2011. The revised organizational structure as proposed by HPC has largely been implemented.

Restructuring of the GSI in 2009 by the S.Vijay Kumar[4] Committee[edit]

The S.Vijay Kumar [5] Committee for the restructuring of the Geological Survey of India was set up in January 2008,based on the direction of the Council of Minister headed by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. S.Vijay Kumar was the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and directly responsible for the policy direction of GSI. The members of the Committee came from diverse backgrounds, including GSI, S/Shri Balram Chattopadhyay, P.N. Razdan, Gautam Dhar and K. Ayyasami from the GSI, Dr. Rasik Ravindra, formerly of the GSI and now with the NCAOR, Dr. Malti Goel, earlier a member of the Arvind Varma Committee, Dr. Pritam Singh of the Management Development Institute Gurgaon, Shri R.K. Sharma, Secy. General, FIMI and S/Shri L.P. Sonkar and Nagesh Singh of the Planning Commission and Shri Ishraq Ahmad from the Ministry of Science & Technology .The Committee after in depth examinantion, gave its report on 31 March 2009, which was accepted by the Council of Ministers and taken up up for implementation.

S.Vijay Kumar Committee's Vision for the GSI[edit]

The S.Vijay Kumar Committee as part of its Report repositioned GSI to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the National Mineral Policy 2008, and gave it an entirely new vision, namely that GSI must aspire: • to develop into a world-class institution for fundamental as well as applied geoscience, always keeping up with the latest technologies and methodologies. • to create a close-knit national geoscientific community through leadership and collaborative partnerships; and • to acquire and provide expertise and widely disseminate geoscientific information to facilitate informed decision-making by policy makers and public and enable use of geoscientific information for sustainable socio-economic development.

Implementation of the S.Vijay Kumar Committee's Recommendations[edit]

The Government of India immediately accepted the Vision and Charte for the GSI proposed by the S.VIjay Kumar Committee and notified them on the 21st May 2009, as follows:


The Geological Survey of India shall aspire to: - develop into a world class institution for fundamental as well as applied geoscience, always keeping up with the latest technologies and methodologies; - create a close-knit national geoscientific community through leadership and collaborative partnerships; and - acquire and provide expertise and widely disseminate geoscientific information to facilitate informed decision-making by policy makers and public and enable use of geoscientific information for sustainable socio-economic development.


Having regard to the Vision for the Geological Survey of India (GSI), and the major opportunities and challenges in the geoscientific sector, the GSI shall:

  • Enable and facilitate the providing of objective, impartial and up-to-date geological

expertise and geoscientific information of all kinds, particularly for decision-making for policy, commercial, economic and societal needs.

  • Systematically document the geology and geological processes of the surface and subsurface of India and its offshore areas using the latest and most cost-effective techniques and methodologies, including geophysical, geochemical and geological surveys.
  • Develop and continually enhance GSI’s core competence in survey and mapping through continued accretion, management, co-ordination and utilization of spatial databases (including those acquired through remote sensing) and function as a ‘Repository’ or ‘clearing house’ for the purpose and use new and emerging computer-based technologies for dissemination of geoscientific information and spatial data, through cooperation and collaboration with other stakeholders in the Geoinformatics sector.
  • Explore (through ground, airborne, satellite, and marine surveys) and scientifically

assess mineral, energy and water resources for the country and facilitate their optimal exploration through proactive information dissemination.

  • Maintain a leadership role in the geological field and develop partnerships with

Central, State and other institutions, to help create enhanced executional capability and capacity in the field of geology in furtherance of GSI’s Vision and the objectives of this Charter.

  • Coordinate geoscientific activities with stakeholders in all sectors related to

geoscience in order to help sustainably manage the country’s natural resources, including water.

  • Conduct multidisciplinary as well as fundamental Geoscientific research and studies

(including geotechnical investigations, physical, chemical and biological hazard geoinvestigations, climate change geostudies, paleogeostudies etc.), and foster partnerships with State and Central research and academic institutions for the purpose.

  • Actively participate in international collaborative projects to improve our

understanding of the earth and its ecosystems and its geology, including studies related to tectonics, global warming and climate change, and Polar studies.

  • Generally advance the cause of the geoscience by documentation, propagation,

archiving and education, including creation and management of museums, monuments and parks, archives, libraries and other facilities for use of students, researchers and the public. In particular constantly endeavour to popularize Geoscience at school and university levels through production and dissemination high quality audio-visual and printed material, and through the medium of the Internet. Also hold exhibitions and special events to bring geoscientific concepts before the public.

Geological parks[edit]

Life-sized model of the extinct Elephant of Siwalik Hills at the Saketi Fossil Park. Its tusk measures 18 feet.

Saketi Fossil Park[edit]

Main article: Saketi Fossil Park

Saketi Fossil Park is 5 km from Kala Amb, (its 85 km from Chandigarh, 65 km from Ambala, 22 km from Nahan, 110 km from Dehradun) There is a small fossil museum showcasing fossilized remnants (skulls, teeth, jaws etc.) of various animal groups like mammals, reptiles, fishes and esp mammals that lived around Siwalik Hills area about 2.5 to 1 million years ago. The park also displays (in open) nicely made life size fiber glass models of six pre-historic animals which roamed around Siwalik Hills area, including 18 feet tusked elephant, 3 meter giant land turtle among others.

Nehru Park[edit]

Nehru Park is located in Hyderabad, A.P. The park displays life size figures of dinosaurs like T-Rex.

National Fossil Wood Park[edit]

This GSI park in Tiruvakkarai is dedicated to wood fossils (petrified wood). The fossil trees are scattered over nine separate enclaves that cover 247 acres (1.00 km2). A small portion of the park is open to the public.


  • Kumar, Deepak (1982). "Economic Compulsions and the Geological Survey of India". Indian Journal of History of Science 17 (2): 289–300. 

External links[edit]