GATE 2019 Syllabus for Geology and Geophysics

About GATE 2019 – To offer admission into M.Tech/M.Sc in engineering/ technology/ architecture and P.hD, In relevant branches of science, Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is a national level examination, and it is conducted. GATE 2019 Mock Tests have been released. It has to be mentioned that, GATE 2019 is managed by the IIT.

In each of the GATE 2019 subjects, two categories have been divided. Overall, in regards to the core subjects, the corresponding sections (of the syllabus given below) of the question paper will contain 90% of their questions and the remaining 10% on Special Topics.


About Geology and Geophysics

By quantitative physical methods, Geophysics is the study of the Earth. The study of the Earth is called Geology. It includes composition and material, structure, processes, and history. It has several specialised areas of research. It is an applied science and consists of the Earth’s interior, crust, oceans, atmosphere, and magnetosphere. Geology and Geophysics also included in the GATE exam.


Syllabus for Geology and Geophysics – GATE 2019

Common Section

Weathering and soil formation; Crystallography – fundamental crystal symmetry and concept of point groups. Mineralogy; 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;

Continental drift; plate tectonics – relationship with earthquakes, volcanism and mountain building; continental and oceanic crust – composition, structure and thickness; Earth and Planetary 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; Gravitational field of the Earth; geomagnetism and paleomagnetism;

Introductory good logging; Principles and applications of gravity, magnetic, electrical, electromagnetic, seismic and radiometric methods of prospecting for oil, mineral and groundwater;

Geological time scale – geochronology and absolute time; Stratigraphic principles; major stratigraphic divisions of India.; Silicate crystal structure and determinative mineralogy of common rock-forming minerals; Petrology – mineralogy and classification of common igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks; Ecological and geographical distribution of mineral, coal and petroleum resources of India;


Geomorphic processes and agents; development and evolution of landforms; slope and drainage; processes in deep oceanic and near-shore regions; quantitative and applied geomorphology.

Cleavage, schistosity and lineation; methods of projection; tectonics and their significance; shear zones; superposed folding; basement-cover relationship; Mechanism of rock deformation; primary and secondary structures; geometry and genesis of folds, faults, joints and unconformities;

Optical mineralogy, classification of minerals, diagnostic physical and optical properties of rock-forming minerals; Crystallography – symmetry, forms and twinning; crystal chemistry;

Elements of geochemical thermodynamics; isotope geochemistry; geochemistry of waters including solution equilibria and water-rock interaction; Cosmic abundance of elements; meteorites; geochemical evolution of the earth; geochemical cycles; distribution of major, minor and trace elements in crust and mantle;

Sedimentary rocks – texture and structure; sedimentary processes and environments, sedimentary facies, provenance and basin analysis; Igneous rocks – classification, forms and textures; magmatic differentiation; binary and ternary phase diagrams; primary and trace elements as monitors of partial melting and evolutionary magma processes: metamorphic rocks – structures and textures.

Association of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks with tectonic setting; Igneous and metamorphic provinces and important sedimentary basins of India; Physico-chemical conditions of metamorphism and concept of metamorphic facies, grade and basic types; metamorphism of pelitic, mafic and impure carbonate rocks; role of fluids in metamorphism;  Metamorphic P-T-t paths and their tectonic significance; Morphology, classification and geological significance of important invertebrates, vertebrates, plant fossils and microfossils;

Principles of Stratigraphy and concepts of correlation – lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and chronostratigraphy; Indian stratigraphy – Precambrian and Phanerozoic; Overview of Himalayan Geology;

Ore-mineralogy and optical properties of ore minerals; Prospecting and exploration of economic mineral deposits – sampling, ore reserve estimation, geostatistics, mining methods. Ore-dressing and mineral economics. Origin and distribution of mineral, fossil and nuclear fuel deposits in India; Ore-forming processes vis-à-vis ore-rock association (magmatic, hydrothermal, sedimentary, supergene and metamorphogenicores); fluid inclusions as an ore genetic tool. Coal and petroleum geology; marine mineral resources;

Engineering properties of rocks and soils; Multispectral remote sensing invisible, infrared, thermal IR and microwave regions, natural hazards; Groundwater geology – 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,. GIS – basic concepts, raster and vector mode operation; digital processing of satellite images rocks as construction materials; the role of geology in the construction of engineering structures including dams, tunnels and excavation sites.


Geothermics and heat flow; seismology and interior of the earth; variation of density, velocity, pressure, temperature, ,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; electrical and magnetic properties of the earth; Earthquakes-causes and measurements, magnitude and intensity, focal mechanisms, earthquake quantification, source characteristics, seismotectonics and seismic hazards; digital seismographs.

Poisson’s relation of gravity and potential magnetic field, preparation of magnetic maps, upward and downward continuation, magnetic anomalies-geometrical shaped bodies, depth estimates, Image processing concepts in the processing of magnetic anomaly maps; Interpretation of processed magnetic anomaly data.

Applications of gravity and magnetic methods for mineral and oil exploration; Scalar and vector potential fieldsGreen’s theorem; Image theory; integral equations in potential theory; Eikonal equation and Ray theory; ; Laplace, Maxwell and Helmholtz equations for solution of different types of boundary value problems in Cartesian, cylindrical and spherical polar coordinates;Elements of Earth’s magnetic field, units of measurement, magnetic susceptibility of rocks and measurements, magnetometers, Land, airborne and marine magnetic surveys, Various corrections applied to magnetic data, IGRF, Reduction to Pole transformation;

Interpretation of resistivity field data, equivalence and suppression, self-potential and its origin, field measurement, Induced polarization, time and frequency domain IP measurements; interpretation and applications of IP, ground-water exploration, mineral exploration, environmental and engineering applications; Conduction of electricity through rocks, electrical conductivities of metals, non-metals, rock-forming minerals and different rocks, concepts of D.C. resistivity measurement, various electrode configurations for resistivity sounding and profiling, application of filter theory, Type-curves over multi-layered structures, Dar-Zarrouck parameters, reduction of layers, coefficient of anisotropy;

The basic concept of EM induction in the earth, Skin-depth, elliptic polarisation, in-phase and quadrature components, Various EM methods, measurements in different source-receiver configurations, Earth’s natural electromagnetic field, telluric, magnetotellurics; geomagnetic depth sounding principles, electromagnetic profiling, Time domain EM method, EM scale modeling, processing of EM data and interpretation. Geological applications including groundwater, mineral and hydrocarbon exploration.

Digital formats, field layouts, seismic noises and noise profile analysis, optimum geophone grouping, noise cancellation by shot and geophone arrays, 2D and 3D seismic data acquisition, processing and interpretation; CDP stacking charts, binning, filtering, dip-moveout, static and dynamic corrections, Digital seismic data processing, seismic deconvolution and migration methods, attribute analysis, bright and dim spots, seismic stratigraphy, high resolution seismic, VSP, AVO. Reservoir geophysics; Seismic methods of prospecting; 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, recording instruments (DFS);

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

Quantitative evaluation of formations from well logs; well hydraulics and application of geophysical methods for groundwater study; application of borehole geophysics in groundwater, mineral and oil exploration; Principles and techniques of geophysical well-logging, SP, resistivity, induction, gamma ray, neutron, density, sonic, temperature, dip meter, caliper, nuclear magnetic, cement bond logging, micro-logs.

Value Decomposition, Backus-Gilbert method, simulated annealing, genetic algorithms and artificial neural network; Basic concepts of forward and inverse problems, Ill-posedness of inverse problems, condition number, non-uniqueness and stability of solutions; quasi-linear and non-linear methods including Tikhonov’s regularization method, Singular L1, L2 and Lp norms, overdetermined, underdetermined and mixed determined inverse problems.


Exam Pattern for GATE 2019


Exam Pattern for GATE 2019
Section Question No No of Questions Marks per Question Total Marks
General Aptitude 1 to 5 5 1 5
  6 to 10 5 2 10
Technical &  Engineering 1 to 25 25 1 25
Mathematics 26 to 55 30 2 60

Total Questions: 65

Total Marks: 100

Total Duration : 3 hours

Technical Section: 70 marks

General Aptitude: 15 marks

Engineering Mathematics: 15 marks

25 marks to 40 marks will be allotted to Numerical Answer Type Questions

 Reference books for GATE 2019


  • Engineering Geology by R. Nagarajan, A. Parthasarathy, V. Panchapakesan
  • Principals of Engineering Geology by KM Bangar
  • A textbook of Geology by  B. Mahapatra
  • Engineering and General Geology by Parbin Singh
  • Structural Geology by Marland P Billings
  • Economic Geology by Uameshwar Prasad
  • Textbook of Physical Geology by G B Mahapatra
  • Principles of Geomorphology by W.D. Thornbury
  • Principles of Petrology by GW Tyrrell
  • Fundamentals of Geophysics by William Lowrie
  • Dana’s Textbook of Mineralogy by William E. Ford
  • Quantitative Geophysics and Geology by Louis Lliboutry


Other GATE 2019 Syllabus and Information

Image source: Donald Giannatti

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