The mission of the society:
"Making geologists acquainted with each other, stimulating their zeal, inducing them to adopt one nomenclature, facilitating the communication of new facts and ascertaining what is known in their science and what remains to be discovered".
The Society was founded on 13 October 1807 at the Freemasons' Tavern, Great Queen Street, in the Covent Garden district of London. It was partly the outcome of a previous club known as the Askesian Society. There were 13 founder members: William Babington, James Parkinson, Humphry Davy, George Bellas Greenough, Arthur Aikin, William Allen, Jacques Louis, Comte de Bournon, Richard Knight, James Laird, James Franck, William Haseldine Pepys, Richard Phillips, and William Phillips. It received its Royal Charter on 23 April 1825 from George IV.
Since 1874, the Society has been based at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. This building houses the Society's library, which contains more than 300,000 volumes of books and journals. It is a member of the UK Science Council.
The Society celebrated its bicentenary in 2007. It ran programmes in the geosciences in Britain and abroad, under the auspices of the science writer and palaeontologist Professor Richard Fortey, the president that year.