The academy was established in 1956 and reorganized in 1999. Administratively it is under the PRC Ministry of Land and Resources.
The academy conducts scientific research on various aspects of geology and geophysics, such as the analytic and exploration techniques of mineral deposit, hydrogeology, engineering geology, environmental geology, karst geology, exploration geophysics and geochemistry.
It is also active in research on paleontology, and was involved in identification of new dinosaurs, including Zhenyuanlong, Xixiasaurus, and a new type of Tyrannosaur Qianzhousaurus. as well as other animals such as Castorocauda and Rugosodon.
The following institutes are affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences:
- Institute of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology (IHEG), CAGS, China
- Institute of Geophysical and Geochemical Exploration
- Institute of Geomechanics, CAGS, China
- Institute of Geology, CAGS, China
- Institute of Mineral Resources (IMR), CAGS, China
- National Research Center for Geoanalysis
- Tianjin Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources (TIGMR), CAGS, China
- Institute of Karst Geology, CAGS