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Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB)  a government organisation engaged in geoscientific activities throughout Bangladesh. Its beginning dates back to 1972 immediately after the liberation war of Bangladesh with the staff and facilities of the Eastern Division of the then Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) in Dhaka. Actually GSP and GSB bear the legacy of the geological survey of india (GSI) founded in 1836 when the Coal Committee was formed by the East India Company to explore the possibility of using Indian coal for navigation and other purposes. The first use of the term Geological Survey of India was made public from a report of Sir John McClelland for the year 1848-49. However, Bangladesh having mostly a recent alluvial landscape, received a little attention of the Geological Survey of India during the British period with regard to geological mapping. The Geological Survey of Pakistan concentrated on extensive search for mineral deposites from 1947 to 1971. The same trend continues in Bangladesh. At present GSB is an attached department of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. A cabinet decision of 10 November 1972 entrusted the responsibilities of the mineral exploration of the country except oil and gas on GSB. Oil and gas sector is under the care of petrobangla. GSB conducts systematic geological mapping and geoscientific activities throughout the country from its headquarters in Dhaka and a camp office at Bogra.

There are two divisions headed by two Deputy Director Generals and 17 branches under the divisions each headed by a Director. The branches are: (i) Planning and Implementation Unit, (ii) Editorial Service, (iii) Geological Mapping, (iv) Stratigraphy and Biostratigraphy, (v) Coastal and Marine Geology, (vi) Petrology and Mineralogy, (vii) Photogeology, (viii) Remote Sensing and Surveying, (ix) Geochemical Exploration, (x) Analytical Chemistry, (xi) Economic Geology, (xii) Geo-Technical, Engineering and Urban Geology, (xiii) Drilling, (xiv) Publication, Public Relation and Data Centre, (xv) Geophysical Mapping-1 (gravity and magnetic), (xvi) Geophysical Mapping-2 (seismic and electric) plus Laboratory and Geophysical Research, and (xvii) Operation and Coordination. The department has a computer cell with remote sensing and GIS (geographical information systems) facilities, a library with books and journals on earth science, a geological museum in Dhaka and a core library at Bogra. the functions of the departments may be descrived as follows:

To conduct systematic geological surveying of the country for preparing geological maps; to investigate in detail of such areas as are indicated by geological mapping to be favourite for accumulation of industrial rocks, minerals, fuels, groundwater, ground water arsenic contamination and other natural resources; to investigate in detail and conduct extensive geophysical, test drilling and geo-chemical operations in order to evaluate the known resources; to conduct stratigraphic studies to identify, correlate and determine the sequences of rock units in support of mapping and exploration programmes including age determination by fossils and other geo-chemical methods; to conduct geological investigation into the construction of dams, canals, tunnels, highways, bridges, new townships and other public construction projects so as to advise the sponsoring agencies about geological feasibility of such construction projects; to carry out marine geological and geophysical investigations and geomorphological studies of river basins and deltaic region; to undertake systematic sampling of minerals, mineral fuels, surface and ground water resources and carry out the mineralogical and chemical analysis of the samples; to advise public and private organisations in all matters connected to geology and resources of the earth.

GSB is fully equipped with rotary conventional and wire line drilling units, and capable of drilling upto 2,000 meters. Analytical Chemistry Laboratory has been moderately upgraded with atomic absorption spectrometry. Laboratories of petrology and mineralogy, stratigraphy and biostratigraphy branches are equipped with X-ray diffractometer and scanning electron microscope. Engineering and Geo-technical Laboratory is well equipped to determine geo-technical characteristics of the soil and rock for civil constructions. Geophysical Mappings are being carried out with the help of gravity, magnetic, seismic and electrical methods. GSB has the capability of computerised data processing and well logging. The department is continually upgrading its capabilities through training of its geoscientific manpower and procuring the laboratory amenities to provide modern facilities.

As a result of the aforesaid activities and facilities GSB attained the following achievements: about 55,000 sq km areas of the country including coastal parts have so far been geologically mapped at the scale of 1:50,000. These mapping programmes have been carried out in plain and hilly areas in different parts of the country.

The mapping works of the geo-technical and engineering and urban geology, at suitable scales, of important cities (eg Dhaka including surrounding areas, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Barisal, Rangpur, Bogra and Khulna have been completed. GSB has so far drilled 180 hole in the country with a total drilling depth of about 42,680m for mineral exploration, stratigraphic studies, testing and to gather other subsurface information.

GSB discovered good quality Gondwana coalfields at Barapukuria and Dighipara of Dinajpur district, Khalaspir of Rangpur district, and Jamalganj of Joypurhat district. Among these coalfields of Barapukuria is in mining stage. Besides the coal fields GSB discovered a good number of peat fields, limestone, white clays, glass sands, mineral sands, construction materials (gravels) and hard rocks. The subsurface hard rock at Maddhyapara of Dinajpur district is in mining stage.

GSB published a good number of reports on different branches of earth science. These works are based on their completed works carried out in different part of the country. Besides these, scientists of the department publish their research findings in seminars/symposia and journals in home and abroad. [QM Arifur Rahman]

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