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
International Union of Geological Sciences (logo)
MottoEarth Science for the Global Community
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
  5. ^
  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.

External links

Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences

The Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (CAGS; Chinese: 中国地质科学院) is an institution that engages in geoscience research in the People's Republic of China. The academy was established in 1956 and reorganized in 1999. Administratively it is under the PRC Ministry of Land and Resources.


The Ediacaran Period ( ), spans 94 million years from the end of the Cryogenian Period 635 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Cambrian Period 541 Mya. It marks the end of the Proterozoic Eon, and the beginning of the Phanerozoic Eon. It is named after the Ediacara Hills of South Australia.

The Ediacaran Period's status as an official geological period was ratified in 2004 by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), making it the first new geological period declared in 120 years.

Although the period takes its name from the Ediacara Hills where geologist Reg Sprigg first discovered fossils of the eponymous Ediacara biota in 1946, the type section is located in the bed of the Enorama Creek within Brachina Gorge in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia, at 31°19′53.8″S 138°38′0.1″E.

Episodes (journal)

Episodes is the quarterly journal of the International Union of Geological Sciences, published in Seoul, Korea. In circulation since 1978, Episodes is an international and interdisciplinary open access and free, both to submit and download, publication journal that covers all geoscience disciplines, including economic geology, environmental geology, geochemistry, geoethics, geoheritage, geophysics, hydrogeology, mineralogy, paleontology, petroleum geology, petrology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, structural geology, remote sensing, planetary geology, and social science (metric and diversity in publications and citations in Earth Sciences). Episodes includes authoritative articles that reflect global research advances, evolving trends in geoscience disciplines and concise reports on the results of international meetings, conferences, and symposia. It is a high visibility journal, and is indexed in Science Citation Index (SCI), Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE; Web of Science), and Journal Citation Reports (JCR)/Science Edition, along with many other databases such as SCOPUS. Submitted manuscripts are peer-reviewed, and a first decision is provided to authors approximately within 30 days after submission.

Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point

A Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point, abbreviated GSSP, is an internationally agreed upon reference point on a stratigraphic section which defines the lower boundary of a stage on the geologic time scale. The effort to define GSSPs is conducted by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, a part of the International Union of Geological Sciences. Most, but not all, GSSPs are based on paleontological changes. Hence GSSPs are usually described in terms of transitions between different faunal stages, though far more faunal stages have been described than GSSPs. The GSSP definition effort commenced in 1977. As of 2012, 64 of the 101 stages that need a GSSP have been formally defined.

Global Standard Stratigraphic Age

In the stratigraphy sub-discipline of geology, a Global Standard Stratigraphic Age, abbreviated GSSA, is a chronological reference point and criterion in the geologic record used to define the boundaries (an internationally sanctioned benchmark point) between different geological periods, epochs or ages on the overall geologic time scale in a chronostratigraphically useful rock layer. A worldwide multidisciplinary effort has been ongoing since 1974 to define such important metrics. The points and strata need be widespread and contain an identifiable sequence of layers or other unambiguous marker (identifiable or quantifiable) attributes.

GSSAs, and the generally more recent and preferred benchmark GSSPs are defined by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) under the auspices of their parent organization, the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), and are used primarily for time dating of rock layers older than 630 million years ago, lacking a good fossil record. The ICS first attempts to meet the standards of the GSSPs (see below) and if those fail, usually have enough information to make a preliminary selection of several competing GSSA prospects or proposals.

The geologic record becomes spotty prior to about 542 million years ago. This is because the Earth's crust in geological time scales is constantly being recycled by tectonic and weathering forces, and older rocks and especially readily accessible exposed strata that can act as a time calibration are rare.

For more recent periods, a Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP), largely based on paleontology and improved methods of fossil dating, is used to define such boundaries. In contrast to GSSAs, GSSPs are based on important events and transitions within a particular stratigraphic section. In older sections, there is insufficient fossil record or well preserved sections to identify the key events necessary for a GSSP, so GSSAs are defined based on fixed dates and selected criteria.

International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment

The International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment (French: Association Internationale de Géologie de I'lngénieur et de l'Environnement), formerly International Association for Engineering Geology, also known as IAEG (French: AIGI), is an international scientific society which was founded in 1964. It is affiliated with the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and has 3,798 members and 59 national groups all over the world.

The association aims to promote and encourage the advancement of engineering geology through technological activities and research. At the same time it strives to improve teaching and training in engineering geology, and to collect, evaluate and disseminate the results of engineering geological activities. Together with Springer Science+Business Media, it publishes the Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment.The first president of the IAEG was Asher Shadmon, who held the office from 1964 to 1968. The current president is Scott F. Burns from Portland State University.Every two years, the IAEG awards the Hans Cloos medal to an engineering geologist of outstanding merit. Every four years, the IAEG organizes an international congress, during which a general meeting of the association takes place and the board for the subsequent four years is also elected. The XII IAEG Congress was held in Turin (Italy) in September 2014. The XIII IAEG Congress will be held in San Francisco (California, USA), in September 2018, and will also serve as the 61st annual meeting of the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists.

International Commission on Stratigraphy

The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), sometimes referred to by the unofficial name "International Stratigraphic Commission" is a daughter or major subcommittee grade scientific daughter organization that concerns itself with stratigraphical, geological, and geochronological matters on a global scale.

It is a subordinate body of the International Union of Geological Sciences—of which it is the largest body within the organisation—and of which it is essentially a permanent working subcommittee that meets far more regularly than the quadrennial meetings scheduled by the IUGS, when it meets as a congress or membership of the whole.

International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences

The International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences (INHIGEO) promotes ongoing research into the history of the earth sciences, particularly the history of geology. It has 20 Honorary Senior Members and 301 members (2018) worldwide.

INHIGEO has been established by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and is also affiliated with the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS). The suggestion for the establishment of INHIGEO in 1967 was chiefly due to the ideas and efforts of the distinguished Russian geologist Vladimir Tikhomirov (1915-1994) from the Geological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

International Geoscience Programme

The International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGCP) is a cooperative enterprise of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).

It was launched in 1972 and originally termed the International Geological Correlation Programme, the source of the acronym IGCP which it retains. For decades the programme was known as the International Geoscience Programme. In November 2015 the name was changed to International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme as the global geoparks were made part of the programme.

The aim of the IGCP is to facilitate research cooperation among geoscientists across frontiers and national boundaries, through joint research work, meetings and workshops. At the present time IGCP has about 400 active projects involving thousands of scientists from about 150 countries.

International Mineralogical Association

Founded in 1958, the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) is an international group of 40 national societies. The goal is to promote the science of mineralogy and to standardize the nomenclature of the 5000 plus known mineral species. The IMA is affiliated with the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).

The Association supports the activities of Commissions and Working Groups involved on certain aspects of mineralogical practice and facilitates interactions among mineralogists by sponsoring and organising meetings. In particular, the IMA holds its general meeting every four years. The next meeting is scheduled in 2022 in Lyon, France.

International Year of Planet Earth

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth to increase awareness of the importance of Earth sciences for the advancement of sustainable development. UNESCO was designated as the lead agency. The Year's activities spanned the three years 2006-2009.


In the geologic time scale, the Meghalayan is the latest age or uppermost stage of the Quaternary. It is also the upper, or latest, of three subdivisions of the Holocene epoch or series. Its Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) is a Krem Mawmluh Cave formation in Meghalaya, northeast India. Mawmluh cave is one of the longest and deepest caves in India, and conditions here were suitable for preserving chemical signs of the transition in ages. The global auxiliary stratotype is an ice core from Mount Logan in Canada.The Meghalayan begins 4,200 years BP, i.e., before 1950 (c. 2250 BCE or 7750 HE), leaving open room for the possible creation of the Anthropocene from 1950 forward. The age began with a 200-year drought that impacted human civilizations in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Canaan, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and the Yangtze River Valley. "The fact that the beginning of this age coincides with a cultural shift caused by a global climate event makes it unique," according to Stanley Finney, Secretary General of the International Union of Geological Sciences.The age was officially ratified by the International Commission on Stratigraphy in July 2018 along with the Greenlandian and the Northgrippian.

Middle Pleistocene

The Middle Pleistocene is a subdivision of the Pleistocene Epoch, from 781,000 to 126,000 years ago (781–126 ka). It is preceded by the Calabrian stage, beginning with the Brunhes–Matuyama reversal, and succeeded by the Tarantian stage (equivalent to the Late or Upper Pleistocene), taken as beginning with the last interglacial (MIS 5).

The tripartite subdivision of the Pleistocene into Lower (Early), Middle and Upper (Late) has been in use since the 1930s.

It is in use as a provisional or "quasi-formal" designation by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) as of 2018,

pending the ratification of the 2017 proposal by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy, ICSSQS) of the Chibanian stage.The Middle Pleistocene contains the transition from the Lower to Middle Paleolithic in palaeoanthropology, i.e. the emergence of Homo sapiens at 300,000 years ago. The oldest known human DNA dates to the Middle Pleistocene.


Pitchstone is a dull black glassy volcanic rock formed when felsic lava or magma cools quickly. It is similar to obsidian but is defined by the International Union of Geological Sciences as having a higher water content. It is a volcanic glass; however, unlike a glass, pitchstone has an irregular hackly fracture not a conchoidal fracture. That is due to its coarser (than obsidian) crystal structure. Pitchstone has a resinous lustre, or silky in some cases, and a variable composition. Its colour may be mottled, streaked, or uniform brown, red, green, gray, or black. It is an extrusive rock that is very resistant to erosion.

The pitchstone ridge of An Sgùrr on the Isle of Eigg, Scotland, was possibly formed as a lava flow in a valley.Pitchstone from the Isle of Arran was used as the raw material for making various items from the Mesolithic through the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Mesolithic use appears to have been limited to the Isle of Arran itself, while in later periods the material or items made from it were transported around Britain.


The Pleistocene ( , often colloquially referred to as the Ice Age) is the geological epoch which lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the world's most recent period of repeated glaciations. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and also with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology.

The Pleistocene is the first epoch of the Quaternary Period or sixth epoch of the Cenozoic Era. In the ICS timescale, the Pleistocene is divided into four stages or ages, the Gelasian, Calabrian, Middle Pleistocene (unofficially the 'Chibanian') and Upper Pleistocene (unofficially the 'Tarantian'). In addition to this international subdivision, various regional subdivisions are often used.

Before a change finally confirmed in 2009 by the International Union of Geological Sciences, the time boundary between the Pleistocene and the preceding Pliocene was regarded as being at 1.806 million years Before Present (BP), as opposed to the currently accepted 2.58 million years BP: publications from the preceding years may use either definition of the period.

Qiuming Cheng

Qiuming Cheng is a Chinese mathematical geoscientist. Qiuming is currently a full professor and founding director of the State Key Lab of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of Geosciences. He received the William Christian Krumbein Medal in 2008 from the International Association for Mathematical Geosciences. He was the President of the International Association for Mathematical Geosciences (2012–2016). He is currently the President of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).

Tholeiitic magma series

The tholeiitic magma series, named after the German municipality of Tholey, is one of two main magma series in igneous rocks, the other being the calc-alkaline series. A magma series is a chemically distinct range of magma compositions that describes the evolution of a mafic magma into a more evolved, silica rich end member. The International Union of Geological Sciences recommends that tholeiitic basalt be used in preference to the term "tholeiite" (Le Maitre and others, 2002).

Wissam S. al-Hashimi

Dr. Wissam S. al-Hashimi was an Iraqi geologist born in Baghdad. In 2001 he was elected president of the Geological Society of Iraq and was president of the Union of Arab Geologists. From 1996 to 2002 he was vice president of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). He was killed in late August or early September 2005.

Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska

Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska (25 April 1925 – 13 March 2015) was a Polish paleobiologist. In the mid-1960s Kielan-Jaworowska led a series of Polish-Mongolian paleontological expeditions to the Gobi Desert. Kielan-Jaworowska was the first woman to serve on the executive committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences.



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