What Do Geologists Do?
A geologist working in the Arctic
A general geologist deals with mineralogy, petrology, geological mapping, economic geology, and petroleum geology. Geological mapping deals with documenting geological formations on a map, such as rock patterns and distribution. Economic and petroleum geology deal with materials that are of import to economic or industrial purposes, such as coal, ores, and minerals.
What do geologists do?
- Geologists study earth processes: floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions
- Geologists explore and manage resources: oil & gas, water, metals, rock byproducts
- Geologists work in environmental fields: climate change, waste management
- Geologists work in construction and engineering: archeology, foundations, marine
- Geologists serve in national security and epidemiology
- Geologists work in education: schools, parks, museums
Geologists study earth processes: Many processes such as landslides, earthquakes, floods
and volcanic eruptions can be hazardous to people. Geologists work to understand these processes well enough to avoid building important structures where they might be damaged. If geologists can prepare maps of areas that have flooded in the past they can prepare maps of areas that might be flooded in the future. These maps can be used to guide the development of communities and determine where flood protection or flood insurance is needed.
Geologists study earth materials: People use earth materials every day. They use oil that is produced from wells, metals that are produced from mines, and water that has been drawn from streams or from underground. Geologists conduct studies that locate rocks that contain important metals, plan the mines that produce them and the methods used to remove the metals from the rocks. They do similar work to locate and produce oil, natural gas and ground water.
Geologists study earth history: Today we are concerned about climate change. Many geologists are working to learn about the past climates of earth and how they have changed across time. This historical geology news information is valuable to understand how our current climate is changing and what the results might be.
Geohydrologists study properties and distribution of natural underground water reservoirs, their capacity to store water, and the movement of water through the reservoirs. More importantly, as a geohydrologist, you will investigate the cycles of drawing out water from the reservoirs for human consumption, as well as the replenishment by precipitation. This is a highly esteemed specialization for geologists, so a high level of knowledge and experience is required.
An engineering geologist investigates the physical and chemical properties of rocks and soil. You can carry this information over to building bridges, dams, roads, and tunnels in structurally sound areas and at minimal cost. Some knowledge of civil engineering is also recommended for the civil planning aspect.
Investigating the inner workings of the earth dealing with continental plate shift, breakup, collision, and amalgamation is the job of a geophysicist. They focus upon the physical and fluid properties of materials making up the earth, striving toward a greater understanding of continental formation and processes that happen because of it (earthquakes, etc). As a geophysicist, you will also focus on finding deposits of minerals created by the earth's movement and compression of materials.