GATE 2021 Geology and Geophysics Syllabus (GG)

GATE 2021 Geology and Geophysics Syllabus

Get here the GATE Geology and Geophysics Syllabus 2021. In the GATE 2021 Geology and Geophysics syllabus, Part A is common for both. The syllabus of part B is different for Geology and Geophysics. IIT Bombay is conducting GATE 2021 as per new revised syllabus. The GATE 2021 syllabus for all papers are available now.

The syllabus for Geology and Geophysics is divided into Parts – Part A and Part B. In Part B there are two sections – Geology and Geophysics. There are various topics under these headings.

Part A : Common Section

Earth and planetary system – terrestrial planets and moons of the solar system; size, shape, internal structure and composition of the earth; concept of isostasy; elements of seismology – body and surface waves, propagation of body waves in the earth’s interior; Heat flow within the earth; Gravitational field of the Earth; geomagnetism and paleomagnetism; continental drift; plate tectonics – relationship with earthquakes, volcanism and mountain building; continental and oceanic crust – composition, structure and thickness.

Weathering and soil formation; landforms created by river, wind, glacier, ocean and volcanoes.

Basic structural geology – stress, strain and material response; brittle and ductile deformation; nomenclature and classification of folds and faults

Crystallography – basic crystal symmetry and concept of point groups. Mineralogy – silicate crystal structure and determinative mineralogy of common rock forming minerals.

Petrology of common igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.

Geological time scale; Geochronology and absolute time. Stratigraphic principles; major stratigraphic divisions of India.

Mineral, coal and petroleum resources of India.
Introduction to remote sensing.
Engineering properties of rocks and soils.
Elements of hydrogeology.
Principles and applications of gravity, magnetic, electrical, electromagnetic, seismic and
radiometric methods of prospecting for oil, mineral and ground water; introductory well logging.

Part B (Section-1): Geology

Geomorphology – Geomorphic processes and agents; development and evolution of landforms in continental and oceanic settings; tectonic geomorphology.

Structural geology – Forces and mechanism of rock deformation; primary and secondary structures; geometry and genesis of planar and linear structures (bedding, cleavage, schistosity, lineation); folds, faults, joints and unconformities; Stereographic projection; shear zones, thrusts and superposed folding; basement-cover relationship. Interpretation of geological maps.

Crystallography and mineralogy- Elements of crystal symmetry, form and twinning; crystallographic projection; crystal chemistry; classification of minerals, physical and optical properties of rock- forming minerals.

Geochemistry – Cosmic abundance of elements; meteorites; geochemical evolution of the earth; geochemical cycles; distribution of major, minor and trace elements in crust and mantle; elements of high temperature and low temperature geochemical thermodynamics; isotopic evolution of the crust and the mantle, mantle reservoirs; geochemistry of water and water-rock interaction.

Igneous petrology – Classification, forms, textures and genesis of common igneous rocks; magmatic differentiation; binary and ternary phase diagrams; major and trace elements as monitors of partial melting and magma evolutionary processes. Mantle plumes, hotspots and large igneous provinces.

Sedimentology– Texture, structure and sedimentary processes; petrology of common sedimentary rocks; Sedimentary facies and environments, cyclicities in sedimentary succession; provencance and basin analysis. Important sedimentary basins of India.

Metamorphic petrology – Structures and textures of metamorphic rocks. Physico-chemical conditions of metamorphism and concept of metamorphic facies, grade and baric types; chemographic projections; metamorphism of pelitic, mafic and impure carbonate rocks; role of bulk composition including fluids in metamorphism; thermobarometry and metamorphic P-T-t paths, and their tectonic significance.

Paleobiology – Diversity of life through time, mass extinctions- causes and effects; taphonomy – processes of fossilization. Taxonomy. Morphology and functional morphology of invertebrates (bivalves, brachiopods, gastropods, echinoids, ammonites); microfossils (foraminifera, ostracoda, conodonts, bryozoa); Vertebrate paleonology (Equus, Probicidea, Human); Paleobotany (plant, spores, pollens). Basic concepts of ecology/paleoecology; classification – ecological and taxonomic schemes (diversity and richness). Fossils and paleoenvironments.

Stratigraphy – Principles of stratigraphy and concepts of correlation; Lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and chronostratigraphy. Principles of sequence stratigraphy and applications. Stratigraphy of peninsular and extra-peninsular India. Boundary problems in Indian stratigraphy.

Resource geology – Ore-mineralogy; ore forming processes vis-à-vis ore-rock association (magmatic, hydrothermal, sedimentary, supergene and metamorphogenic ores); fluid inclusions as ore genetic tools. Coal and petroleum geology; marine mineral resources. Prospecting and exploration of economic mineral deposits – sampling, ore reserve estimation, geostatistics, mining methods. Ore dressing and mineral economics. Distribution of mineral, fossil and nuclear fuel deposits in India.

Global tectonics – Plate motions, driving mechanisms, plate boundaries, supercontinent cycles.

Applied geology – Physico-mechanical properties of rocks and soils; rock index tests; Rock failure criteria (Mohr-Coulomb, Griffith and Hoek-Brown criteria); shear strength of rock discontinuities; rock mass classifications (RMR and Q Systems); in-situ stresses; rocks as construction materials; geological factors in the construction of engineering structures including dams, tunnels and excavation sites. Analysis of slope stability.

Natural hazards (landslide, volcanic, seismogenic, coastal) and mitigation. Principles of climate change.

Hydrogeology – Groundwater flow and exploration, well hydraulics and water quality.

Basic principles of remote sensing – energy sources and radiation principles, atmospheric absorption, interaction of energy with earth’s surface, aerial-photo interpretation, multispectral remote sensing in visible, infrared, thermal IR and microwave regions, digital processing of satellite images. GIS – basic concepts, raster and vector mode operations.

Part B (Section-2): Geophysics

Soild-Earth Geophysics – The earth as a planet; different motions of the earth; gravity field of the earth, Clairaut’s theorem, size and shape of earth; geomagnetic field, paleomagnetism; Geothermics and heat flow; seismology and interior of the earth; variation of density, velocity, pressure, temperature, electrical and magnetic properties of the earth.

Geodesy – Gravitational Field of the Earth; Geoid; Ellipsoid; Geodetic Reference Systems; Datum; Everest (1830) and WGS 84 (1984) systems; GPS and DGPS; Levelling and Surveying.

Earthquake Seismology – Elements of elasticity theory- stress and strain tensors, Generalized Hooke’s Law; Body and Surface Waves; Rotational, dilatational, irrorational and equivolumnal waves. Reflection and refraction of elastic waves; Inhomogenous and evanescent waves and bounded waves; Eikonal Equation and Ray theory; earthquakes-causes and measurements, magnitude and intensity, focal mechanisms; earthquake quantification, source characteristics, seismotectonics and seismic hazards; digital seismographs, Earthquake statistics, wave propogation in elastic media, quantifying earthquake source from seismological data. Elements of Seismic Tomography.

Potential and Time Varying Fields – Scalar and vector potential fields; Laplace, Maxwell and Helmholtz equations for solution of different types of boundary value problems in Cartesian, cylindrical and spherical polar coordinates; Green’s theorem; Image theory; integral equations in potential and time-varying field theory.

Gravity Methods – Absolute and relative gravity measurements; Gravimeters; Land, airborne, shipborne and bore-hole gravity surveys; Tensorial Gravity sensors and surveys; various corrections for gravity data reduction – free air, Bouguer and isostatic anomalies; density estimates of rocks; regional and residual gravity separation; principle of equivalent stratum; data enhancement techniques, upward and downward continuation; derivative maps, wavelength filtering; preparation and analysis of gravity maps; gravity anomalies and their interpretation – anomalies due to geometrical and irregular shaped bodies, depth rules, calculation of mass.

Magnetic Methods – Elements of Earth’s magnetic field, units of measurement, magnetic susceptibility of rocks and measurements, magnetometers and magnetic gradiometers, Land, airborne and marine magnetic and magnetic gradiometer surveys, Various corrections applied to magnetic data, IGRF, Reduction to Pole transformation, Poisson’s relation of gravity and magnetic potential field, preparation of magnetic maps, upward and downward continuation, magnetic anomalies due to geometrical and irregular shaped bodies; Image processing concepts in processing of magnetic anomaly maps; Depth rules; Interpretation of processed magnetic anomaly data; derivative, analytic signal and Euler Depth Solutions. Applications of gravity and magnetic methods for mineral and oil exploration.

Electrical Methods – Conduction of electricity through rocks, electrical conductivities of metals, non- metals, rock forming minerals and different rocks, concepts of D.C. resistivity measurement and depth of investigation; Apparent Resistivity and Apparent Chargeability, Concept of Negative Apparent Resistivity and Negative Apparent Chargeability; Theory of Reciprocity, Sounding and Profiling, Various electrode arrangements, application of linear filter theory, Sounding curves over multi-layered earth, Dar-Zarrouk parameters, reduction of layers, Triangle of anisotropy, interpretation of resistivity field data, Principles of equivalence and suppression, self-potential method and its origin; Electrical Resitivity Tomography (ERT); Induced polarization, time and frequency domain IP measurements; interpretation and applications of SP, resistivity and IP data sets for ground-water exploration, mineral exploration, environmental and engineering applications.

Electromagnetic Methods – Geo-electromagnetic spectrum; Biot Savart’s Law; Maxwell’s Equation, Helmotz Equation, Basic concept of EM induction in the earth, Skin-depth, elliptic polarization, in-phase and quadrature components, phasor diagrams; Response function and response parameters; Ground and Airborne Methods, measurements in different sourcereceiver configurations; Earth’s natural electromagnetic methods-tellurics, geomagnetic depth sounding and magnetotellurics; Electromagnetic profiling and Sounding, Time domain EM method; EM scale modeling, processing of EM data and interpretation; Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Methods; Effect of conducting overburden;Geological applications including groundwater, mineral environmental and hydrocarbon exploration.

Seismic methods – Elastic properties of earth materials; Reflection, refraction and CDP surveys; land and marine seismic sources, generation and propagation of elastic waves, velocity – depth models, geophones, hydrophones, digital recording systems, digital formats, field layouts, seismic noise and noise profile analysis, optimum geophone grouping, noise cancellation by shot and geophone arrays, 2D, 3D and 4D seismic data acquisition, processing and interpretation; CDP stacking charts, binning, filtering, static and dynamic corrections, Digital seismic data processing, seismic deconvolution and migration methods, attribute analysis, bright and dim spots, seismic stratigraphy, high resolution seismics, VSP, AVO, multicomponent seismics and seismic interferometry. Reservoir geophysics- Rock Physics and Petrophysics.

Geophysical Survey Design.

Geophysical signal processing – sampling theorem, Nyquist frequency, aliasing, Fourier series, periodic waveform, Fourier and Hilbert transform, Z-transform and wavelet transform; power spectrum, delta function, auto correlation, cross correlation, convolution, deconvolution, principles of digital filters, windows, poles and zeros.

Geophysical Well Logging – Principles and techniques of geophysical well-logging, SP, resistivity, induction, gamma ray, neutron, density, sonic, temperature, dip meter, caliper, nuclear magnetic resonance- longitudinal and transverse relaxation, CPMG sequence, porosity characterization, cement bond logging, micro-logs. Pulsed Neutron Devices and Spectroscopy Multi Array and Triaxial Induction Devices; Quantitative evaluation of formations from well logs; Logging while drilling; High angle and horizontal wells; Clay Quantification; Lithology and Porosity Estimation; Saturation and Permeability Estimation; application of bore hole geophysics in ground water, mineral and oil exploration.

Radioactive Methods – Prospecting and assaying of mineral (radioactive and non-radioactive) deposits, half-life, decay constant, radioactive equilibrium, G M counter, scintillation detector, semiconductor devices, application of radiometric for exploration, assaying and radioactive waste disposal.

Geophysical Inversion – Basic concepts of forward and inverse problems, Ill-posedness of inverse problems, condition number, non-uniqueness and stability of solutions; L1, L2 and Lp norms, overdetermined, underdetermined and mixed determined inverse problems, quasi-linear and non-linear methods including Tikhonov’s regularization method, Singular Value Decomposition, Backus-Gilbert method, simulated annealing, genetic algorithms, swarm intelligence, machine learning and artificial neural networks. Statistics of misfit and likelihood, Bayesian construction of posterior probabilities, sparsity promoting L1 optimization. Ambiguity and uncertainty in geophysical interpretation.

GATE 2021 General Aptitude Syllabus

General Aptitude syllabus remains the same in all the subjects of GATE 2021. It is divided into 2 parts – Verbal Ability and Numerical Ability. There will be a total of 10 questions in GA section in all the papers. From these 10 questions, 5 questions will hold 1-mark each and the remaining 5 questions will hold 2-marks each. The syllabus for GA section is given below.

Verbal Ability- In VA there will be topics like English grammar, Sentence completion, Instructions, Verbal analogies, Word groups, Critical Reasoning, and Verbal deduction. 
Numerical Ability- In NA there will be topics like Numerical computation, Numerical reasoning, Numerical estimation, and Data interpretation. 

GATE 2021 Geology and Geophysics Mock Tests 

Mock tests should be an important part of your GATE 2021 preparation. Without testing and analyzing yourself, you won’t be able to detect your weak areas and improve them. Hence, solve as many mocks as you can, 

GATE 2021 Geology and Geophysics Exam Pattern

Before candidates dive into the preparation of the GATE 2021, they must go through the exam pattern of the exam along with the marking scheme. To prepare in a better manner, you must be aware of all the exam related information. For the exam pattern and the marking scheme, candidates can check below. 

Section Distribution of MarksTotal MarksTypes of questions
GA5 questions of 1 mark each
5 questions of 2 marks each
  15 marks            MCQs
Part A (compulsory)25 questions of 1 mark each  25 marks   MCQs and NATs
Part B *– Section 1 (Geology)/ – Section 2 (Geophysics)
30 questions of 2 marks each 

  60 marks

   MCQs and NATs

*any one of the two sections

The exam (Computer Based Test) will be conducted online. The duration of the exam is 3 hours. Candidates are supposed to solve 2 types of questions in the exam – MCQS and NATs. Apart from the General Aptitude section, the GG paper will consist of two parts: Part-A and Part-B. Part-A is compulsory for the candidates. Part-B will consist of two sections: Section-1(Geology) & Section-2(Geophysics). Candidates will have to attempt the questions in Part A and questions of either Section-1 or Section-2 in Part-B. There will be a total of 65 questions. The total marks in the exam are 100 marks. There will be negative marking for the MCQs only. 

Marking scheme

Type of questionNegative marking for wrong answerMarking for correct answer
MCQsfor 1 mark questions⅔ for 2 marks questions1 or 2 marks
NATsNo negative marking 1 or 2 marks

How to Prepare for GATE Geology and Geophysics?

Only 6 months are left and there’s a lot to prepare. What you need is smart preparation. We all can mug up the syllabus in a few months but that won’t land you admission in any of the top varsities. To grab a seat in your dream college, you must work tirelessly for it. We have come with a few tips that will help you rank in GATE 2021. 


Before you begin your preparation for the entrance exam, you must your research properly. The research includes going through the exam pattern, marking scheme and the entire syllabus of the exam. The first we have already discussed in this article. The detailed syllabus for Geology and Geophysics is also mentioned above. Go through them properly to gain all the important information about GATE 2021. After you have done the research, you can move on to the real preparations for the exam. 

Set targets

At the beginning of the preparation, set small and attainable targets. You can set the time target to complete a particular topic or you can also set a weekly target to complete a fixed percentage of the syllabus. This will help you complete the syllabus in small parts. You learn better when you pay attention to the topics separately. The small victories will also boost your confidence noticeably. 

Test and analyze

After every topic you cover, you must test the same topic. Take section wise or topic wise mock tests. Analyze your performance and keep practicing until you get it all right. You can join online test series. They will help you prepare from questions of all difficulty levels. Once you have covered the entire syllabus you can start taking full-length mock tests. This will help you in analyzing all your topics at once. You will get used to giving exam for straight 3 hours as well as the online mode of the examination. 

Practice and improve

Your preparation should be done through a lot of practice. Take as many mock tests as you can. Try new sample papers every week, with or without solutions. Don’t shy away from frequent tests and their results. At the end improvement is really important. If after analyzing the tests you don’t see any progress, that means you have to change your strategy and work harder. Don’t settle for average marks, push yourself to your best. 

Do revision 

As you near the last month of preparation, start your revision. Revise each and every topic well. Refer to the notes that you made during your preparation. They will help you in revising the entire syllabus with ease, without taking much of your time. Don’t skip this last step as it is important can affect your marks in the exam profusely. 

GATE Geology & Geophysics Books for Preparation 

Candidates are advised to study from the best study material. You can take material from online as well but make sure it is reliable. Those who are preparing through coaching must take their coaching study material seriously. We have mentioned a number of books below that you can use for your GATE 2021 preparation. 

Title of the bookName of the Author/ PublicationLink to buy
GATE 2021 Geology and Geophysics: Year-wise Previous Year Solved PapersGKPLINK
GATE: Geology and Geophysics Exam Guide Ajhar Hussain LINK

GATE 2021 Preparation FAQs  

Q1. How many sections are there in GG GATE 2021?
Ans. There are three sections in the GG GATE 2021 – General Aptitude, Part-A(compulsory), and Part-B (attempt 1 out of 2 sections). For more details read the exam pattern given in this article.

Q2. What types of questions will be asked in the General Aptitude section?
Ans. There will be only Multiple Choice Questions in the GA section. Note that there will be negative marking for the MCQs in the exam. 

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