International Union of Geological Sciences

The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) is an international non-governmental organization devoted to international cooperation in the field of geology.[1]

International Union of Geological Sciences
MottoEarth Science for the Global Community
Formation1961 (1961)
TypeINGO, standards organization
HeadquartersFounded in Paris, France, secretariat in Beijing, China
Region served
Qiuming Cheng (Canada/China)
Key people
Sec.Gen.: Stanley Finney (US)
Treasurer: Hiroshi Kitazato (Japan)
Parent organization
International Council for Science


The IUGS was founded in 1961 and is a Scientific Union member of the International Council for Science (ICSU), which it recognizes as the coordinating body for the international organization of science. Currently geologists from 121 countries (and regions) are represented in IUGS through a 121 Adhering Organization. A broad range of Scientific topics are covered by its Commission, Task Groups, Joint Programmes, Affiliated Organizations. IUGS promotes and encourages the study of geological problems, especially those of worldwide significance, and supports and facilitates international and interdisciplinary cooperation in the earth sciences.[2] The Union's Secretariat is currently located at the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Beijing, China


IUGS is a joint partner with UNESCO for the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) and they also participate in the Global Geoparks Network (GGN). The Geological Society of London oversees the production and distribution of IUGS Publications. The Geological Society of India produces and distributes the Union's quarterly journal, entitled Episodes, as well as providing editorial support. Interested parties can download the latest issues of Episodes free of charge[3]

As of 2014 IUGS runs six international commissions covering the following topics:

On the 31st of August 2016 at the Fourth Ordinary Session of the IUGS Council Meeting in Cape Town the establishment of an IUGS Commission on Global Geochemical Baselines was approved.

International Geological Congress

The International Union of Geological Sciences is the main scientific sponsor of the International Geological Congress[4] (IGC), which takes place every four years. South Africa and Cape Town hosted the 35th International Geological Congress in 2016.[5] The 34th Session of the International Geological Congress took place in Brisbane, Australia in August 2012, where IUGS-IGC Council decided that India will host the 36th session in 2020.[6]. The event has been gowing bigger with each passing year. The first congress was in France in 1878[7] where a few geoscientists gathered to share new finds and the aim was to create a framework and a platform for geoscientists to meet at regular intervals. The 36th IGC will be jointly hosted by India, Bangladesh,Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The theme for the 36th IGC is "Geosciences:The Basic Science for a Sustainable Future".


The IUGS Scientific Awards of Excellence:

  • IUGS Émile Argand Award
  • IUGS James M. Harrison Award
  • IUGS Award for Geoscience Information
  • IUGS Award for Structural Geology
  • Vladimir V. Tikhomirov History of Geology Medal by the IUGS Commission on the History of Geology (INHIGEO).
  • Digby McLaren Medal by the IUGS Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS).[8]

See also

  • QAPF diagram
  • International Stratigraphic Guide: A guide developed by the IUGS-ICS Subcommission on Stratigraphic Classification to promote international agreement on principles of stratigraphic classification and to develop an internationally acceptable stratigraphic terminology and rules of stratigraphic procedure.


  1. International Union of Geological Sciences, International Union of Geological Sciences, retrieved 6 June 2012
  2. A Brief history of the IUGS, International Union of Geological Sciences, retrieved 6 June 2012
  3. Episodes, International Union of Geological Sciences, retrieved 5 June 2012 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. The International Geological Congress(A Brief History) (PDF), retrieved 6 June 2012
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-23. Retrieved 2013-05-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. International Geological, Congress. "About IGC". IGC.
  8. Special Issue on the IUGS Awards, IUGS Science Excellence Awards for 2016.
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