Optional Paper | Geology | UPSC Syllabus

UPSC Geology Optional
Written by Dr. SS

We are giving in this post, UPSC Geology syllabus of Mains 2018. If you are a geologist or have taken this subject as an optional for  UPSC Mains Examination; you can find this post useful. To appear in UPSC Civil Services Mains exam, you need to have complete awareness about CSE Mains Syllabus and exam pattern.  To get complete information, you can check the given links.

UPSC Geology Syllabus of Mains

UPSC Geology Syllabus


  1. General Geology:

The Solar System, Origin, and interior of the earth and age of the earth, Meteorites; Volcanoes- causes and products, Volcanic belts; Earthquakes-effects, causes,  Seismic zones of India; Island arcs, trenches and mid-ocean ridges; Continental drifts; Plate tectonics; Seafloor spreading, Isostasy.

  1. Geomorphology and Remote Sensing:

Basic concepts of geomorphology; Weathering and soil formations; Slopes and drainage; Landforms, Geomorphic cycles, and their interpretation; Morphology and its relation to structures and lithology; Applications of geomorphology in mineral prospecting, Coastal geomorphology; civil engineering; Geomorphology of the Indian subcontinent.  Hydrology and environmental studies; Aerial photographs and their interpretation- merits and limitations; The Electromagnetic spectrum; Orbiting satellites and sensor systems; Satellites data products, Indian Remote Sensing Satellites; Applications of remote sensing in geology; The Global Positioning System (GPS) and The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – its applications.

  1. Structural Geology:

Principles of geologic mapping and map reading, Projection diagrams, Stress-strain relationships of elastic and Stress and strain ellipsoid and, plastic and viscous materials; Strain markers in deformed rocks; Behaviour of rocks and minerals under deformation conditions; various folds and faults classification and mechanics; Structural analysis of foliations , folds,  joints and faults lineations, unconformities; Time relationship between crystallization and deformation.

  1. Paleontology:

Species- definition and nomenclature; Modes of preservation of fossils; Megafossils and Microfossils; Different kinds of microfossils; Application of microfossils in correlation, petroleum exploration, paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic studies; Evolutionary trend in Hominidae, Equidae and Proboscidea; Siwalik fauna; Index fossils and their significance Gondwana flora and fauna and its importance;.

  1. Indian Stratigraphy:

Classification of stratigraphic sequences: lithostratigraphic, chronostratigraphic, biostratigraphic and magnetostratigraphic and their interrelationships; Classification and Distribution of Precambrian rocks of India; Study of stratigraphic distribution. Study of  lithology of Phanerozoic rocks of India with reference to fauna, flora and economic importance; Major boundary problems- Precambrian, Cambrian Permian, Triassic, Cretaceous,Tertiary and Pliocene, Pleistocene; Study of climatic conditions, paleogeography and igneous activity in the Indian subcontinent in the geological past; Evolution of the Himalayas, Tectonic framework of India;

  1. Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology:

Hydrologic cycle and study of genetic classification of water; Movement of subsurface water; Springs; Porosity, hydraulic conductivity, permeability, transmissivity, and storage coefficient, classification of aquifers; Ground-water chemistry; Water-bearing characteristics of rocks; Saltwater intrusion; Drainage basin, Types of wells.Exploration for groundwater; Groundwater recharge; Problems and management of groundwater; Engineering properties of rocks, Rainwater harvesting; Geological investigations for dams, railway, and bridges, tunnels highways, Rock as construction material; Landslides- prevention, causes, and rehabilitation; Earthquake-resistant structures.

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UPSC Mains Geology Syllabus 2018


  1. Mineralogy:

Classification of crystals: Systems and classes of symmetry; International system of crystallographic notation; Elements of X-ray crystallography, Use of projection diagrams to represent crystal symmetry; Physical and chemical characters of rock-forming silicate mineral groups; Common minerals of  metamorphic and igneous  rocks, Structural classification of silicates; Common minerals of igneous and metamorphic rocks; Minerals of the carbonate, sulphide, phosphate  and halide groups; Clay minerals. Optical properties of common rock-forming minerals; extinction angle, Pleochroism, double refraction, birefringence, twinning and dispersion in minerals.

  1. Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology:

Generation and crystallization of magmas; Crystallization of albite-anorthite, diopside-wollastonite and diopside-anorthite  – silica systems; Bowen’s Reaction Principle; Magmatic differentiation and assimilation; structures of igneous rocks ,Petrogenetic significance of the textures and; Petrography and petrogenesis of granite, diorite ,syenite, basic and ultrabasic groups, charnockite, anorthosite and alkaline rocks; Carbonatites; Deccan volcanic province. Metamorphic grades and zones; Types and agents of metamorphism; Phase rule; Facies of regional and contact metamorphism; AKF and ACF diagrams; Textures and structures of metamorphic rocks; argillaceous and basic rocks, Metamorphism of arenaceous; Minerals assemblages Retrograde metamorphism; Metasomatism and migmatites, granitization, Granulite terrains of India.

  1. Sedimentary Petrology:

Sediments and Various Sedimentary rocks: Processes of formation; lithifi and cation digenesis; Clastic and non-clastic rocks their classification, petrography and depositional environment; Sedimentary facies and provenance; Heavy minerals and their significance; Sedimentary structures and their significance; Sedimentary basins of India.

  1. Economic Geology:

Ore, ore minerals and gangue, classification of ore deposits ,tenor of ore; Process of formation of minerals deposits; Ore textures and structures, Controls of ore localization;; Metallogenic epochs and provinces; Geology of the important Indian deposits of chromium, aluminium, copper, gold, iron, lead zinc, titanium ,manganese, uranium and thorium and industrial minerals; Deposits of petroleum and coal in India; National Mineral Policy; Marine mineral resources and Law of Sea, Conservation and utilization of mineral resources.

  1. Mining Geology:

Methods of prospecting-geological, geochemical, geophysical and botanical; Techniques of sampling; Estimation of reserves or ore; Methods of exploration and mining metallic ores, marine mineral resources, industrial minerals,  building stones; Mineral beneficiation and ore dressing.

  1. Geochemistry and Environmental Geology:

Cosmic abundance of elements; Composition of the planets and meteorites; Trace elements, Earth and its Structure and composition, distribution of elements; Elements of crystal chemistry types of chemical bonds, Isomorphism and polymorphism, coordination number; Elementary thermodynamics. Natural hazards-floods, mass wasting, earthquakes and volcanic activity and mitigation ,coastal hazards, Environmental impact of urbanization, mining, use of fertilizers, industrial and radioactive waste disposal,  dumping of mine waste and fly ash; Pollution of ground and surface water, marine pollution; Environment protection – legislatures in India; Sea level changes: causes and impact.

Whether you are appearing in CSE 2018 or preparing for IAS or IFS 2019; you should always check previous years mains question papers to have one idea of the depth of questions. Selection of Books should be done after that.

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Good luck to all UPSC aspirants with Geology optional. Prepare syllabus without leaving any topic; you would get success for sure.

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Dr. SS

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