The present IACT originated in the Stratigraphy Section of the Instituto Lucas Mallada, wich was created in July 1965 as a Centre associated with the Laboratory of Geology in the UGR. Its first directos was Dr. José María Fontboté Mussolas.
When the Instituto Nacional de Geología of the CSIC was set up, the Granada Section became one of its Department, replacing the previous Section of the Instituto Lucas Mallada.
The Departamento de Investigaciones Geológicas of Granada formed part of the Patronato Alfonso X el Sabio in the CSIC's Instituto Nacional de Geología. This Department was associated with the Departments of Crystallography and Mineralogy, Stratigraphy, Geotectonics and Palaeontology in the Faculty of Sciences of Granada University. Its Director continued to be José María Fonboté until he transferred to the University of Barcelona. Prof. Juan Antonio Vera Torres was named Director on 10 January 1979, remaining so until his resignation in May 1983.
Dr. Angel Carlos López Garrido was named Director of the Department of Geological Research in Granada in May 1983, remaining in the post until December 1985, when the Centre was reorganized.
In June 1993, Dra. Mª Carmen Comas Minondo was named Acting Director with the purpose of reorganizing the Centre. The Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra was set up in September 1994, with the signing of a new agreement between the CSIC and the UGR. Dra. Mª Carmen Comas resigned in May 1995.
The sucessive Directors of the present Institute have been as follows:
- Dr. Carlos Sanz de Galdeano Equiza, elected Director in May 1995 and resigning in May 1997.
- Prof. Dr. Juan Manuel García Ruiz, elected Director in May 1997 and resigning in November 1998.
- Prof. Dr. Andrés Maldonado López, elected Director in November 1998 and resigning in March 2007.
- Dr. Alberto López Galindo, elected Director in March 2007 and resigning in May 2015.
- Dr. Fco. Javier Huertas Puerta, elected Director in May 2015 to the present.
In June 2011 the Institute moved from the University of Granada to its new location at Avenida de las Palmeras, nº 4, de Armilla (Granada). The building has an area of 6.289 m2 with a construction cost of 11.452.000 €. The official inauguration of the building on 28 November 2011, was presided over by the CSIC President, D. Rafael Rodrigo Montero, and the Provost of the University of Granada, D. Francisco González Lodeiro