Geological Survey of India

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Geological Survey of India
Geological Survey of India Logo.png
Central Headquarters - Geological Survey of India - Indian Museum Campus - Kolkata 2014-02-14 3249.JPG
Central Headquarters. 27 JN Road, Kolkata.
Government agency overview
Formed4 March 1851; 170 years ago (4 March 1851)
TypeGeological survey
JurisdictionBritish India (1851-1947)
Dominion of India (1947-1950)
Government of India (From 1950)
HeadquartersKolkata, West Bengal, India.
Annual budget800 crore (US$110 million) (2019-2020) [1]
Government agency executive
  • Dhuti banergy, Director General
Parent Government agencyMinistry of Mines

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) is a scientific agency of India. It was founded in 1851, is a Government of India Ministry of Mines organisation, one of the oldest of such organisations in the world and the second oldest survey in India after Survey of India (founded in 1767), for conducting geological surveys and studies of India, and also as the prime provider of basic earth science information to government, industry and general public, as well as the official participant in steel, coal, metals, cement, power industries and international geoscientific forums.


The British Empire colonised India for the systematic financial exploitation of resources,[2] leading to India's deindustrialization and Britain's Industrial Revolution,[3][4][5] by using India as both a significant supplier of raw goods to British manufacturers and a large captive market for British manufactured goods (see Economy of India under the British Raj).[6]

Formed in 1851 by East India Company, the organization's roots can be traced to 1836 when the "Coal Committee", followed by more such committees, was formed to study and explore the availability of coal in the eastern parts of India.[7][8] 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 December 1845 and arrived in India the following February.[7][8] The phrase "Geological Survey of India" was first used on his Dec 1847 map of the Damoodah and Adji Great Coal Field,[9] together with Horizontal[10][11] and Vertical sections of the map.[12] On 4 February 1848, he was appointed the "Geological Surveyor of the Geological Survey of India", but he fell off his elephant and, soon after, died with his assistant, F. B. Jones, of 'jungle fever' on 15 November 1848,[13] after which John McClelland took over as the "Officiating Surveyor" until his retirement on 5 March 1851.[7][8]

Until 1852, Geological Survey primarily remained focused on exploration for coal, mainly for powering steam transport, oil reserves, and ore deposits, when 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 geology of India. Thus, the Geological Survey commenced to map the rock types, geological structures and relative ages of different rock types . The age of rock strata was estimated from the presence of index fossils, which consumed much of the geologists' efforts in finding these index fossils, as the method of Radiometric dating for estimating the age of rock strata was not developed at that time.[7][8] In 1869 Frederick Richard Mallet was first to visit Ramgarh crater.[14][15] Later studies include by those of Arthur Lennox Coulson

In 19th century GSI undertook several surveys including Great Trigonometrical Survey, 1869 Kailash-Mansarovar expedition, 1871-1872 ShigacheLhasa expedition, 1873-1874 YarkandKashgar expedition, second expedition of this area by Sir Thomas Douglas Forsyth, 1878-1882 DarjeelingLhasaMongolia expedition, etc.[16][17][18][19] The native surveyors were called pandit, some notable ones include cousins Nain Singh Rawat and Krishna Singh Rawat.[20][18][19]

In 19th and early 20th century GSI made important contributions to Seismology by its studies and detailed reports on numerous Indian earthquakes. Richard Dixon Oldham, like his father also worked for GSI, first correctly identified p- and s-waves, and hypothesised and calculated the diameter of the Earth's core.[7][8]

On 8 April 2017 GSI began pilot project, with the first ever aerial survey of mineral stocks by GSI, to map the mineral stocks up to a depth of 20 km using specially-equipped aircraft.[21]

The GSI was restructured into 5 Missions, respectively relating to "Baseline Surveys";"Mineral resource Assessments";"Geoinformatics";"Multi-disciplinary Geosciences"; and "Training and Capacity Building", on the basis of the Report of a High-level Committee chaired by Mr S.Vijay Kumar[22] Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Mines of the Government of India.

The superintendents and directors[edit]

Sr. No. Name Period Country
1. Dr. Thomas Oldham, The Superintendent 1851–1876 Dublin, Republic of Ireland
2. H. B. Medlicott, The Superintendent 1876–1885 Loughrea, County Galway, Ireland
3. H. B. Medlicott, The Director 1885–1887 Loughrea, County Galway, Ireland
4. William King Jr. 1887–1894 Ireland; an Anglo-Irish
5. C.L.Griesbach 1894–1903 Vienna, Austria
6. Sir T. H. Holland 1903–1910 Helston, Cornwall, England
7. Sir Henry. H. Hayden 1910–1921 Derry, Ireland
8. Sir Edwin Hall Pascoe 1921–1932 England
9. Sir L.L. Fermor 1932–1935 Peckham, south London, England
10. Dr. A. M. Heron 1935–1939 British, Duddingston, Edinburgh, Scotland
11. Sir Cyril S. Fox 1939–1943 -
12. Edward Leslie Gilbert Clegg 1943–1944 Manchester, England
13. Henry Crookshank 1944–1945 -
14. J.A. Dunn 1945 -
15. William Dixon West 1945–1951 Bournemouth, England
16. M. S. Krishnan, First Indian Director 1951–1955 Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
17. V. P. Sondhi 1955–1958 -
18. B. C. Roy 1958–1964 -

See also[edit]


  1. ^!%40%40%3F_afrLoop%3D6181794949698665%26_adf.ctrl-state%3Dx6p6y0dgg_5
  2. ^ Rajat Kanta Ray (1998). "Indian Society and the Establishment of British Supremacy, 1765–1818". In P. J. Marshall (ed.). The Oxford History of the British Empire. Volume II: The Eighteenth Century. Oxford University Press. pp. 508–29. ISBN 978-0-19-164735-2. |volume= has extra text (help)
  3. ^ Junie T. Tong (2016). Finance and Society in 21st Century China: Chinese Culture Versus Western Markets. CRC Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-317-13522-7.
  4. ^ John L. Esposito, ed. (2004). The Islamic World: Past and Present. Volume 1: Abba - Hist. Oxford University Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-19-516520-3. |volume= has extra text (help)
  5. ^ Indrajit Ray (2011). Bengal Industries and the British Industrial Revolution (1757-1857). Routledge. pp. 7–10. ISBN 978-1-136-82552-1.
  6. ^ Henry Yule, A. C. Burnell (2013). Hobson-Jobson: The Definitive Glossary of British India. Oxford University Press. p. 20. ISBN 9781317252931.
  7. ^ a b c d e Kumar, Deepak (1982). "Economic Compulsions and the Geological Survey of India". Indian Journal of History of Science. 17 (2): 289–300.
  8. ^ a b c d e Chakrabarty, S (2012). "Geological Survey of India". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  9. ^ Damoodah and Adji Great Coal Field Map, Bavarian State Library.
  10. ^ GSI Map of horizontal sections 1 & 2, Bavarian State Library.
  11. ^ GSI Map of horizontal sections 3 & 4, Bavarian State Library.
  12. ^ GSI Map of vertical section 5, Bavarian State Library.
  13. ^ Allen's Indian Mail, Vol VII, No 117 London, 22 January 1849, p41.
  14. ^ Mallet, F. R., 1869, Memoir, Geological Survey of India, vol 7, page 129.
  15. ^ BALASUNDARAM, M., DUBE, A. Ramgarh, 1973, "Structure, India", Nature (journal), 242, 40 doi:10.1038/242040a0.
  16. ^ Clements R. Markham, 1878, "A Memoir on The Indian Surveys", 2nd Ed., W H Allen & Co., London, p.189.
  17. ^ Charles E. D. Black, 1891, "A Memoir on The Indian Surveys (1875-90)" , London , p.168.
  18. ^ a b Derek J. Waller, 2004, "The Pundits: British Exploration of Tibet and Central Asia," University Press of Kentucky.
  19. ^ a b Account of the Pundit's Journey in Great Tibet - Capt. H. Trotter, The Journal of the Royal Geographic Society (1877).
  20. ^ Peter Hopkirk, 1982, "Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Race for Lhasa", Oxford University Press.
  21. ^ "In a first in India, GSI to use modern aircraft to map mineral stocks". The Financial Express. 7 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  22. ^ "TERI: Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development - India".

External links[edit]