The 36th International Geological Congress - 2020

Herojit Nongmaithem *

An aged history of more than 140 years, the International Geological Congress (IGC) has come a long way since their inception in 1878 in Paris. With less than 200 days left for the 36th edition of the Congress to kick off, the geoscientist community is on the pinnacle of the scientific display.

A second time host India, with the scientific support of Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan will be hosting the 36th IGC at New Delhi during 2nd to 8th March, 2020.

“Geosciences: The Basic Science for a Sustainable Future” the much relevant theme in this 21st century has been the framed with the hope that this will echo the aspiration of the region from emerging geosciences in respect of its new techniques and understanding of processes in the South East Asian countries.

Geological Survey of India (GSI), the third oldest serving survey organisation in the world has shouldered the burden of being the nodal agency to host and organised the 36th IGC in collaboration with the partners viz. Ministry of Earth Sciences, Ministry of Mines and the Indian National Science Academy.

While the supportive scientific help is to be rendered by Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, Bangladesh Academy of Sciences, Pakistan Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka. Indian Geology is nature’s gift to the Earth Science Community, with its rich rock record of geological events from the Archean, to the present day tectonics and from the oceans to Mars.

More than 3 billion years of history of rocks, with Gold, PGE and Diamond deposits in the Archean craton have provided insights into the Archean tectonics and thermal regimes. The Deccan volcanism of the Cretaceous time has resulted in one of the largest flood basalt province.

The spectacular rise of the Himalaya and its role in the chemistry of global oceans and the Indian monsoon are too well known. The unique Thar Deserts, the incredible Kutch, the enormously lengthy east and west coastal regimes of peninsular India and the gigantically vast alluvial plains of Ganges-Brahmaputra are serene places of geoscientific concepts.

The Indo Myanmar Ranges and collision with the Myanmar Plate and the Himalayas has been the prime destinations for the tectonic researchers. The delegates of the IGC will therefore have a first-hand exposure to textbook examples in almost all aspects of Geosciences.

The highlights of the congress are -12 Plenary Talks by eminent geoscientists from across the globe, 44 science themes, 266 symposia, special theme for national and international scientific organisations, more than 40 parallel discussion sessions, e-poster presentations, State of the Art Convention Centre, 7000 sq. m for Geoexpo area and 71 exciting field trips spread in India and neighbouring countries.

The additional far-reaching Geohost Program, massive Geoexpo, and many other Geotourism attractions, the Congress promises to be a truly memorable experience. A geological enthusiast/student/researcher in our country can avail the opportunity to participate in the biggest global geo scientific cluster.

The congress under the aegis of International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) is scheduled to be held at India Expo Mart. Ltd. (IEML) Greater Noida, Delhi NCR. In order to provide a learning interface between budding geoscientists and the visiting peers, selected volunteers will be involved in the organisational activities that will expose them to first hand life time experiences.

The 36th IGC will engage about 350 geoscientists as volunteers - they will be assigned multiple tasks / activities during the field trips (India) and the main congress (expected to have more than 5000 delegates). Persons who are good at communication and organizational skills with sound geoscience knowledge both in the field and relevant to the congress (preferably with multilingual knowledge) can apply for volunteers. The selected volunteers will work purely on temporary /contractual basis.

The selection of the volunteers will be done through an Expression of Interest (EOI) which will be announced soon. Such volunteers may be provided sufficient incentives (i.e. waiver of registration fee, per-diem, to and fro train fares) during training, workshop and main congress.

For the geoscientist fraternity, the GeoHost Support program of the 36th IGC is unprecedented, offering full support for travel, registration and local hospitality for 1000 delegates. It would provide financial support based exclusively on scientific merit. The GeoHost Support program is designed to enable young and financially disadvantaged geoscientists to attend the IGC. These may be awarded as either full or partial support.

Applicants who can obtain partial funding from other sources will get preference. This support includes the Youth GeoHost Program, wherein one meritorious candidate from each of the IUGS-adhering countries would be offered fully funded GeoHost grant for attending the 36th IGC.

Selection would be made in consultation with the IUGS-adhering countries. To encourage early career researchers and students, a Congress Theme Workshop Series (CTWS) is being organized during the 36th IGC for capacity-building. The tentative themes of the workshop are Geohazards, Climate Change, Carbon dioxide sequestration, Water resources and conservation, Sustainable development of geo-resources, Monsoon system, Energy resources, Applications of isotopes in ground water research, Coastal zone management and Geostatistics.

The congress will be a roller-coaster ride for those young enthusiasts, students, researchers, professionals who are directly or indirectly based on geology. As per the bid presented at the 34th IGC, the GeoHost program of the 36th IGC would be made available to every active scientist who has an abstract that is accepted for presentation during the congress.

So the concerned fraternity of geology students and workers should optimise this chance to scientifically activate themselves. The congress even has the platform for the private firms, companies and other NGO’s to hold business meets during the congress and tie up their own start up programmes.

Updates, brochures, happenings and much more details of each facet of the 36th IGC is available at

* Herojit Nongmaithem wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer is a Sr. Geologist at GSI, Imphal Office
This article was webcasted on September 04, 2019.

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