Location: Home > Introduction

  Introduction

Institute of Geology, affiliated to China Earthquake Administration, is a nation-level scientific institution with over 60 years' history and one of the major scientific institutions of China Earthquake Administration in Beijing. Its earlier predecessors can traced back to the Central Institute of Geologic Survey of Ministry of Economy in 1913 and the Institute of Geology of the Central Research Institute founded in 1928. During the period from 1950 to 1951, the Institute of Geology Chinese Academy of Sciences was organized. In 1971, the Institute was affiliated to the State Seismological Bureau and renamed as the Institute of Geology, State Seismological Bureau in 1978 (with approval from the State Council, the divisions irrelevant to earthquake research were restructured for the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences). In 1998, the Institute was renamed as the Institute of Geology, China Earthquake Administration.


The Institute is a comprehensive multi-disciplinary earth science research institution covering geology, geophysics, geochemistry and geodesy. It is the unique country-level research institute that focuses on neotectonic movement and present-day geodynamics. In  the early 1970s, the Institute proposed the basic principles for earthquake geology "from old to new, from static to dynamic, from shallow to deep and from qualitative to quantitative", and then developed and expanded China's research in earthquake geology and active tectonics. Now, the institute has won reputation in the international seismic science and been in the leading of China's seismogeological development. In addition, China's first laboratory for tectonophysics was established in the institute, which conducts experimental study on seismic rupture mechanism, rock mechanics under high pressure and high temperature and the physical mechanic property of lithosphere. Through the integration of surface deformation and geophysical probing to the deep earth, it has been developed into the State Key Laboratory for Earthquake Dynamics as a primary base for experimental study of lithosphere and earthquake dynamics in China. Moreover, the institute initiated large-scale geologic mapping and quantitative methods. In recent years, the institute has investigated nearly 20 active faults nationwide and obtained quantitative parameters on geometry, motion characteristics, activity history and seismic risks of these faults, which not only provide important basic data for earthquake prediction, seismic zoning and engineering construction, but also lay a solid technical foundation and provide scientific demonstration for the active fault probing in big cities and the mapping of China's major active faults under way. The institute opened a new field for China's research on volcanicity, discovered and confirmed the existence of active volcanoes in China and is the first to make study of volcanicity by means of geology, geochemistry, geophysics and geochronology methods. Moreover, the institute subtly perceives wide application prospects of the space-to-ground observational technology and is active to promote the application of global positioning system (GPS) and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) to geosciences. At present, the experimental application of laser detection and ranging (LiDAR) to the study of active tectonics is under way, which mapped the current tectonic deformation of Chinese mainland, especially the Tibetan Plateau and provided observational data and vital constraints for the study of geodynamics in the mainland. These achievements of the institute have been widely appreciated in community of geoscience at home and abroad. On the basis of in-depth analysis of active tectonics, deep structure, crust deformation and seismic activity of the Chinese mainland, drawing on previous research results, the institute proposed the hypothesis that major quakes in the Chinese mainland are controlled by active blocks,  which would guide the efforts of earthquake prediction and the study of earthquake mechanism. Besides, the institute has initiated a new field for China's integrated study on natural disasters. In view of intrinsic relevance and mutual effect of different natural disasters in China, the institute took the lead to make a systematic investigation and analysis on the natural disasters in the history along with the experts who were dedicated to the study of various natural disasters, which figured out the facts of natural calamities in China's history, raised the philosophy, thinking and technology of alleviating natural disasters and made great contributions to the cause of disaster reduction.


At present, the institute is principally involved in the basic research in the fields of seismic science,  earthquake prevention and disaster reduction. The research directions  are set to address the following five scientific and technological issues: (1) Seismotectonic environments associated with locations and magnitudes of major earthquakes; (2) Earthquake dynamics involving generation processes and mechanisms of major shocks; (3) Earth observation technologies to develop new methods of earthquake prediction; (4) Eruption mechanism of active volcanoes and volcanic disaster prediction; (5) Earthquake emergency theory and mechanism of seismic disaster generation. At the same time, the institute also carries out fundamental research of various aspects in geosciences, such as Cenozoic tectonic evolution, recent crustal movements, tectonophysics and rock mechanics under high pressure and high temperature, present-day geodynamic processes, geophysics to probe deep earth and modern volcanism.


Now the institute hosts 3 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1 academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. In total 38 Senior Research Fellows are working at the institute. Seven scientists were appraised as the young and senior scientific experts who have made outstanding contributions to the country. Thirty-nine experts are enjoying the special government subsidies. And 4 scientists were honored with the "Li Siguang Geological Science Award".


The institute has undertaken and accomplished many national projects of science and technology, including the major key programs, "climbing" programs, key basic research programs, projects of the National Natural Science Foundation and many country-level major projects for seismic safety assessment. Over 250 specialized books and 7100 scientific articles have been published, which include 6 high-level papers on Nature and Science. The scientists of the institute have received 2 pieces of National Natural Science Award and 12 National Award for Science and Technology Progress. The institute always comes out top for geoscience upon the scientific research strength among research institutes, universities and colleges in China.


The institute is in the first batch to enroll, cultivate postgraduates and confer Master's and Doctor's degrees as approved by the State Council. At present, there is 1 first-level discipline "geology" and 1 secondary-level discipline "solid earth geophysics" that are granted with the right to confer Master's and Doctor's degrees. Since the postgraduate admission system was restored in 1978 (as of the end of 2011), the institute has enrolled 656 postgraduates in all, among whom there are 380 Master degree candidates and 276 Doctor degree candidates; 483 degrees have been conferred in all, among which there are 297 Master's degree and 186 Doctor's degree. Moreover, the institute is provided with the circulating post-doctoral post for geology. From 1999 to the end of 2011, the institute enrolled 51 post-doctoral researchers in all, 31 of whom have graduated.


The institute hosts the National Key Laboratory for  Earthquake Dynamics" and the Key Laboratory of China Earthquake Administration for Active Tectonics and Volcanology", which are fully equipped with facilities for experiments, detection systems and a large-scale parallel computation system. Specifically, the system for tectonophysics and high-temperature & high-pressure experimental system can simulate the faulting and rheological processes on the surface and at depth down to upper mantle. The fully-set chronologic experimental system can make dating for various geologic bodies in the range from a hundred years to hundred million years. The geophysical prospecting system, mainly including the broadband seismograph array and electromagnetic sounding system, can probe the fine structure from surface to upper mantle. Various high precision space-to-earth observations and surface survey systems can observe minute changes on different space scales. Various advanced analysis systems for geochemistry and microstructure can study the physical and chemical processes of active volcanic eruptions. The parallel computing system with the computing speed as high as 5 trillion time/second can meet the demand for numerical calculation of massive data, for example, inversion processing, geodynamic simulation and seismic disaster simulation.


The institute boasts a wealth of books, journals and documents. Seismogeology, an academic periodical that was first issued in 1979, is edited and published by the institute, which is successively collected by 18 well-known retrieval systems at home and abroad. In 2011, the impact factor thereof reached 2.22 and Seismogeology was ranked in the first place among 39 geoscientific periodicals and the 5th place among 1988 core periodicals in China.