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Who we are

The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), founded in 1961, with 121 national members, representing over a million geoscientists, is one of the World’s largest scientific organizations. It encourages international co-operation and participation in the Earth sciences in relation to human welfare and is a member of the International Science Council (ISC). Membership is open to countries or defined regions. IUGS believes that it is of mutual benefit to establish close links with other organizations engaged in geoscience activities, and especially those organizations whose work relates to some of the major activities of IUGS.

  • IUGS Flyer (A short explanation of the IUGS, version 2014)

  • IUGS Brochure (A more detailed explanation of the IUGS, version 2019)

  • Video (version 2012)

What we do

IUGS promotes and encourages the study of geological problems, especially those of world-wide significance, and supports and facilitates international and interdisciplinary cooperation in the Earth sciences.

IUGS gives special consideration to: a) international standards; b) geoscience education; c) geoscience information; d) environmental management and hazards.

IUGS works through topic specific Commissions, Task Groups, and Initiatives as well as Joint Programmes with other organizations, that are concerned with a wide range of geologic research of direct interest to governments, industry, and academic groups within the Earth sciences .

IUGS aims to promote development of the Earth sciences through the support of broad-based scientific studies relevant to the entire Earth system; to apply the results of these and other studies to preserving Earth's natural environment, using all natural resources wisely and improving the prosperity of nations and the quality of human life; and to strengthen public awareness of geology and advance geological education in the widest sense.

IUGS fosters dialogue and communication among the various specialists in earth sciences around the world. It achieves this by organizing international projects and meetings, sponsoring symposia and scientific field trips, and producing publications. Topics addressed span the gamut from fundamental research to its economic and industrial applications, from scientific, environmental and social issues to educational and developmental problems. For example, IUGS is currently involved in:

  • identifying and defining the problems critical to an improved understanding of terrestrial and planetary geological processes;

  • encouraging formulation and testing of new geological concepts, models, and methodologies;

  • focusing effort internationally on the study of critical economic or environmental problems whose resolution may depend on an understanding of geology;

  • fostering international agreement on nomenclature and classification in several geoscientific disciplines such as stratigraphy, petrology and tectonics;

  • strengthening mechanisms for facilitating international cooperation in geological research and exchange;

  • improving publication, dissemination, and use of geological information internationally;

  • encouraging new relationships between and among disciplines of science that relate to geology worldwide;

  • attracting competent students and research workers who will devote their attention to geology, and to stimulateexcellent education for students interested in geology;

  • fostering an increased awareness among individual scientists world-wide of what programs are being carried out in geology in each country;

  • promoting public understanding and appreciation of the planet earth, its environment in space, and their study; and

  • furthering the public welfare by assuring that geology makes appropriate contribution to public policy decisions of an international nature.


The Union was founded in March of 1961 in response to a need to coordinate geoscientific international research programs on a continuing basis. Geoscientists felt that a mechanism was required to take action on global geological problems between the International Geological Congresses, traditionally held every four years. IUGS was also to serve as a vital link in solving problems requiring interdisciplinary input from other international scientific unions operating under the aegis of the International Council For Science (ICSU). Compared to these, IUGS was a "latecomer," although some of its responsibilities had been carried out by the International Geological Congress - a venerable institution over a century old. Since 1961, IUGS has experienced rapid growth in membership, scientific scope and expertise, as well as international prestige.

Read more about the roots of IUGS


Some of the "founding fathers", at UNESCO, Paris (France), 1961.

Where we are

The IUGS Secretariat is located in Beijing (China) and is financially supported by the Government of China and the IUGS. The IUGS Secretariat moved to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing on 1st December 2012.

The International Union of Geological Sciences is a 501 c (3) non-profit organization registered in the USA.

Federal TIN (IRS) = 521231783
DUNS Number = 653870014
In Care of Name = Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (CAGS) 

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