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UPSC Geology Syllabus 2024, Optional Syllabus for UPSC IAS

UPSC Geology Syllabus 2024: Geology is offered as an optional subject in the UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam, consisting of two papers: Optional Paper I and Paper II. The UPSC Exam Mains has a total of nine papers, including two papers for optional subjects. This article presents the syllabus for Geology as an optional subject in the UPSC examination.

UPSC Geology Syllabus 2024 (Optional Subject)

The UPSC Geology Syllabus 2024 (Optional Subject) Mains consists of two papers: Paper I and Paper II, each carrying 250 marks, resulting in a total of 500 marks. The Geology syllabus for UPSC emphasizes candidates’ comprehension of fundamental concepts and the practical application of knowledge to address sustainable development and disaster management issues.

UPSC Geology Syllabus 2024 covers a wide range of topics, including general geology, remote sensing, India’s geomorphology and stratigraphy, mining, and economic geology, and their significance in promoting sustainable development and managing disasters.

UPSC Geology Syllabus 2024 For Optional (Paper I)

Candidates can check the following table for the UPSC Geology Syllabus 2024 For Mains Paper I.

UPSC Geology Syllabus (Mains Paper I)
1. General Geology
  • The Solar System, Meteorites, Origin and interior of the Earth and age of Earth Volcanoes- causes and products, Volcanic belts
  • Earthquakes-causes, effects, Seismic zones of India; Island arcs, trenches and mid-ocean ridges
  • Continental drifts
  • Seafloor spreading, Plate tectonics
  • Isostasy
2. Geomorphology and Remote Sensing
  • Basic concepts of geomorphology;

  • Weathering and soil formations;

  • Landforms, slopes and drainage;

  • Geomorphic cycles and their interpretation;

  • Morphology and its relation to structures and lithology;

  • Coastal geomorphology; Applications of geomorphology in mineral prospecting, civil engineering;

  • Hydrology and environmental studies;

  • Geomorphology of the Indian subcontinent.

  • Aerial photographs and their interpretation-merits and limitations;

  • The Electromagnetic spectrum;

  • Orbiting satellites and sensor systems;

  • Indian Remote Sensing Satellites;

  • Satellites data products; Applications of remote sensing in geology;

  • The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) – its applications.

3. Structural Geology
  • Principles of geologic mapping and map reading, Projection diagrams, Stress and strain ellipsoid and stress-strain relationships of elastic, plastic and viscous materials;
  • Strain markers in deformed rocks
  • The behaviour of minerals and rocks under deformation conditions
  • Folds and faults classification and mechanics
  • Structural analysis of folds, foliations, lineations, joints and faults, unconformities; Time relationship between crystallization and deformation.
4. Palaeontology
  • Species- definition and nomenclature
  • Megafossils and Microfossils

  • Modes of preservation of fossils

  • Different kinds of microfossils

  • Application of microfossils in correlation, petroleum exploration, paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic studies

  • The evolutionary trend in Hominidae, Equidae and Proboscidae; Siwalik fauna

  • Gondwana flora and fauna and its importance

  • Index fossils and their significance

5. Indian Stratigraphy
  • Classification of stratigraphic sequences: lithostratigraphic, biostratigraphic, chronostratigraphic and magnetostratigraphic and their interrelationships;
  • Distribution and classification of Precambrian rocks of India;
  • Study of stratigraphic distribution and lithology of Phanerozoic rocks of India with reference to fauna, flora and economic importance;
  • Major boundary problems- Cambrian/Precambrian, Permian/Triassic, Cretaceous/Tertiary and Pliocene/Pleistocene;
  • Study of climatic conditions, palaeogeography and igneous activity in the Indian subcontinent in the geological past;
  • Tectonic framework of India; Evolution of the Himalayas.
6. Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology
  • Hydrologic cycle and genetic classification of water;
  • Movement of subsurface water; Springs;
  • Porosity, permeability, hydraulic conductivity, transmissivity and storage coefficient, classification of aquifers;
  • Water-bearing characteristics of rocks; Ground-water chemistry;
  • Saltwater intrusion; Types of wells;
  • Drainage basin morphometry; Exploration for groundwater;
  • Groundwater recharge; Problems and management of groundwater;
  • Rainwater harvesting; Engineering properties of rocks;
  • Geological investigations for dams, tunnels highways, railways and bridges;
  • Rock as a construction material;
  • Landslides-causes, prevention and rehabilitation;
  • Earthquake-resistant structures

UPSC Geology Syllabus 2024 for Optional (Paper II)

Candidates can check the following table for the UPSC Geology Syllabus 2024 For Mains Paper II.

UPSC Geology Syllabus (Mains Paper I)
1. Mineralogy
  • Classification of crystals into systems and classes of symmetry;
  • The international system of crystallographic notation;
  • Use of projection diagrams to represent crystal symmetry;
  • Elements of X-ray crystallography.
  • Physical and chemical characters of rock-forming silicate mineral groups;
  • Structural classification of silicates;
  • Common minerals of igneous and metamorphic rocks;
  • Minerals of the carbonate, phosphate, sulphide and halide groups;
  • Clay minerals.
  • Optical properties of common rock-forming minerals;
  • Pleochroism, extinction angle, double refraction, birefringence, twinning and dispersion in minerals.
2. Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
  • Generation and crystallization of magmas;

  • Crystallization of albite-anorthite, diopside-anorthite and diopside-wollastonite-silica systems;

  • Bowen’s Reaction Principle;

  • Magmatic differentiation and assimilation;

  • Petrogenetic significance of the textures and structures of igneous rocks;

  • Petrography and petrogenesis of granite, syenite, diorite, basic and ultrabasic groups, charnockite, anorthosite and alkaline rocks;

  • Carbonatites; Deccan volcanic province. Types and agents of metamorphism; Metamorphic grades and zones; Phase rule;

  • Facies of regional and contact metamorphism;

  • ACF and AKF diagrams;

  • Textures and structures of metamorphic rocks;

  • Metamorphism of arenaceous, argillaceous and basic rocks;

  • Minerals assemblages Retrograde metamorphism;

  • Metasomatism and granitisation, migmatites, Granulite terrains of India.

3. Sedimentary Petrology
  • Sediments and Sedimentary rocks:

  • Processes of formation; diagenesis and lithification;

  • Clastic and non-clastic rocks their classification, petrography and depositional environment;

  • Sedimentary facies and provenance;

  • Sedimentary structures and their significance;

  • Heavy minerals and their significance;

  • Sedimentary basins of India.

4. Economic Geology:
  • Ore, ore minerals and gangue, the tenor of ore, classification of ore deposits;

  • Process of formation of minerals deposits;

  • Controls of ore localization;

  • Ore textures and structures;

  • Metallogenic epochs and provinces;

  • Geology of the important Indian deposits of aluminium, chromium, copper, gold, iron, lead-zinc, manganese, titanium, uranium and thorium and industrial minerals;

  • Deposits of coal and petroleum in India;

  • National Mineral Policy;

  • Conservation and utilization of mineral resources;

  • Marine mineral resources and Law of Sea.

5. Mining Geology:
  • Methods of prospecting-geological, geophysical, geochemical and geobotanical; Techniques of sampling;
  • Estimation of reserves or ore;
  • Methods of exploration and mining metallic ores, industrial minerals, marine mineral resources and building stones;
  • Mineral beneficiation and ore dressing.
6. Geochemistry and Environmental Geology
  • Cosmic abundance of elements;

  • Composition of the planets and meteorites;

  • Structure and composition of Earth and distribution of elements;

  • Trace elements;

  • Elements of crystal chemistry, types of chemical bonds, coordination number; Isomorphism and polymorphism;

  • Elementary thermodynamics.

  • Natural hazards-floods, mass wasting, coastal hazards, earthquakes and volcanic activity and mitigation;

  • Environmental impact of urbanization, mining, industrial and radioactive waste disposal, use of fertilizers, dumping of mine waste and fly ash;

  • Pollution of ground and surface water, marine pollution;

  • Environment protection – legislative measures in India;

  • Sea level changes: causes and impact.

How to Prepare UPSC Geology?

Having familiarized yourself with the syllabus for Geology Optional in both Paper I and II, it is crucial to understand the preparation approach for geology optional in UPSC, including topic-wise strategies:

Topic-Wise Preparation Strategy For Geology Optional Paper-1

General geology

  1. This fundamental concept holds immense importance and offers relative ease of comprehension.
  2. Key subjects frequently inquired about include earthquakes, tectonic plates, the earth’s age, and the universe’s formation.

Geomorphology and Remote Sensing

  1. When studying geomorphology, prioritize fundamental subtopics such as river and mountain formation, as well as soil formation.
  2. Additionally, pay attention to key topics like Indian satellites and other remote sensing technologies, the advantages and limitations of remote sensing, and strategies for disaster control and prevention.
  3. Stay updated on current affairs related to this field to enhance your answers with relevant events. For remote sensing topics, valuable information can be found on the website of the national remote sensing authority

Indian stratigraphy

  1. When studying this section, it is essential to concentrate on the types of rocks, the geological time scale, and their corresponding regions of occurrence.
  2. To facilitate better retention and understanding, it is advisable to create tables that can assist in memorizing the information effectively.

Hydrogeology and Engineering geology

  • This topic focuses on the climatic and geological variations in different areas and how they impact the selection of materials for various engineering projects in those regions

Structural geology

  1. This topic is considered fundamental and is often covered during school education, making it relatively easier to comprehend and grasp.
  2. To delve into the subtopics of this section, referring to “Structural Geology” by Marland P Billings would provide comprehensive coverage.


  1. This section of the syllabus focuses on factual and static information related to ancient life forms and fossils, including significant topics such as the evolution of humans, horses, and elephants.
  2. To enhance understanding and retention, creating tables for each species and following the pattern can aid in comprehending the course of evolution effectively.
  3. Another crucial topic within this section is understanding the distinctions between various types of fossils. Additionally, the mode and process of fossilization are frequently examined subjects in exams.

Topic-Wise Preparation Strategy For Geology Optional Paper-2

  • Mineralogy: This section focuses on the properties and uses of different minerals found in rocks, with a particular emphasis on abundant minerals in India. Recent trends include applied questions, so adapt your preparation and answer writing style accordingly.
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology: You may have covered topics from this section during your school education. Sedimentary petrology is crucial, so study it with relevant examples from India in mind.
  • Economic Geology: This chapter requires a thorough understanding of the country’s economic conditions and how they impact geology positively or negatively. Focus on the influence of geology on overall economic development, distribution of coal and petroleum, various ores and minerals used in industries, and raw materials used by specific industries. Additionally, important topics include the National Mineral Policy, marine mineral resources, and laws of the sea.
  • Mining and Geochemistry, and Environmental Geology: This chapter holds significance due to notable mines in India. Gain a clear understanding of mining operations, recognized mining areas, and the principles of geochemistry, including the abundance and rarity of elements. Environmental geology explores natural hazards, pollution, urbanization, and their effects on the Earth’s terrain and modifications. Regular revision is essential to grasp the concepts effectively.
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UPSC Geology Syllabus 2024, Optional Syllabus for UPSC IAS_3.1

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Is geology easy in UPSC?

. Geology is a relatively easier optional subject if you've studied science till class X.

What is geology syllabus for UPSC?

The topics included in this subject are related to general geology, remote sensing, India's geomorphology and stratigraphy, mining, economic geology and their application to sustainable development and disaster management.

Is geology scoring in UPSC?

The answers are specific and do not rely on the reader's perception. As a result, Geology is a high-scoring choice. There are two sets of papers in the UPSC Geology Optional Syllabus exam which are Paper 1 and Paper 2 in UPSC Mains.

What is the main subject in geology?

It includes the study of mineralogy, palaeontology, petrology, economic geology, hydrogeology, stratigraphy, structural geology etc.

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