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What is a Geologist?

A Geologist is a specialized type of Scientist. Also known as: Earth Scientist, Geohydrologist, Geophysicist.

Geology is a study that encompasses all the materials that make up the earth, the forces that act upon the earth, as well as the biology of ancestral inhabitants based on fossil records. A geologist is someone who works to understand the history of the planet we live on, to better predict the future and explain current occurrences.

A geologist studies earth processes such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, and volcanic eruptions to survey land and draw up safe building plans. When geologists investigate earth materials, not only do they investigate metals and minerals, but they also look into oil, natural gas, water and methods to extract these. Overall, geology is concerned with the changes of the earth over time, such as climate change and land formation.

What does a Geologist do?

When geologists investigate earth materials, not only do they investigate metals and minerals, but they also look into oil, natural gas, water and methods to extract these.

All divisions of geology provide highly useful information towards understanding the earth and its inhabitants. Depending on the particular specialization in geology, a geologist may study and map rock formations, collect rock samples and fossils, or measure the physical properties of the earth. This helps geologists interpret the active geological processes during the past several million years of earth's history. Geology plays a vital role behind the success of many other different disciplines, such as climatology, civil engineering, and evolutionary biology.

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.

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.

Making deductions about ancestral climates and environmental conditions through the fossil record is the job of a paleontologist, a type of geologist. We can understand so much more about the past earth thanks to these researchers who analyze deposited layers of rock and soil for clues about pre-historic times. A paleontologist works with evolutionary biology, determining the factors that made species go extinct and those that brought about the origin of species as well.

Some other kinds of geologists are:

Environmental geologists seek solutions to environmental issues by observing and investigating flooding, pollution, and natural hazards.

Marine geologists concentrate on the connections and interactions between geology, marine biology, and oceanography. The study of the ocean floor and coastal zones is the focus of their work.

Planetary geologists study the geology of celestial bodies. These include the moons, comets, asteroids, meteorites, and meteor craters of the planets.

Economic geologists work all around the world. Their primary objective is to locate profitable deposits of oil, gas, and minerals and to determine how to extract them.

Petroleum geologists are involved in oil discovery and production. They are called upon to read the story told by the earth by studying sediment deposits in oceans and rock folds and faults.

Paleoclimatologists and paleo-oceanographers seek to understand how the Earth’s climate and oceans have behaved and evolved through time. Their work is key to understanding and reducing the effects of climate change.

Geomorphologists study how the Earth’s surface is sculpted or morphed by streams, landslides, glaciers, and wind.

Geologists work mainly in the field outdoors, but they can also do research within laboratories, classrooms, and offices.

Below are some examples of tasks that geologists commonly undertake:

Mapping and Fieldwork

There is more than one type of mapping. The aim of field mapping is to produce a geological map by examining rock types, geological structures, and how they relate to one another.

Geotechnical mapping evaluates the properties and stability of rock areas to determine suitability for any kind of construction or modification, such a building a tunnel.


Geological logging systems include:
Rock core logging – also known as rock chip logging, for mining and exploration companies
Mud logging – for oil and gas exploration
Geotechnical logging – to assess the strength or weakness of rocks; to identify fractures

Laboratory work

Lab work is essential in the field of geology. In fact, some geoscientists work exclusively for large commercial laboratories that conduct data analysis for mining, oil and gas, engineering, and environmental companies.

Lab work can include:
Microscopic analysis – to examine the fine details of rocks and fossils
Geochemical analysis – to reveal details about samples, such as metal content or quality of oil
Geomechanical analysis – to test and reveal the strength of rocks

Computer-based work

Increasingly, geologists use specialized software:

Geographical Information Systems GIS) essentially allow geologists to conduct field mapping on their computers by producing a digital database of acquired field data.

Modelling programs have become increasingly important tools for geologists, both in the research sector and in the commercial sector. Geologists produce modelling programs for various purposes:
Modelling geological processes, often for research
Producing a 3D model of an oil field, a mineral deposit, or an aquifer (an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock)
Modelling the subsurface geology that is to be modified by an engineering project

Report Writing

Geology reports can range from brief daily site updates to large documents of several hundred pages concerning economic assessments and environmental impacts of potential exploration projects.

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What is the workplace of a Geologist like?

Geologists work mainly in the field outdoors, but they can also do research within laboratories, classrooms, and offices. Since geology deals with much fieldwork, one should be able to adapt to weather changes and to varying terrains.

Geologists and geo-technologists work for mining companies or oil and gas exploration companies. They can also find work in civil engineering firms, planning city construction. Additionally, government agencies may need the aid of geologists to support geoscience, education, water affairs, and forestry. A geologist may also work with a variety of organizations over the span of their employment, such as non-profit organizations, universities and natural reserve companies, or work as a consultant.

What type of geologist spends the most time outdoors?

Geologists study rocks, minerals, and the physical processes that create and change the earth's landscape. There are several areas of geology one can pursue, and some geologists spend more time outdoors than others.

If outdoors is where you want to be, look into becoming a field or exploration geologist. They do geological surveys and mineral prospecting that requires them to spend quite a bit of time outdoors.

Environmental engineers spend roughly fifty percent of their time outdoors, helping project managers with field work and doing environmental site assessments. Their other duties may include installing remediation systems, taking soil tests, and surveying monitoring wells.

What is the difference between a geologist and a paleontologist?

A geologist is someone who is involved in the study of the outer layer of the earth's crust. The objective of geology is to understand the history of the planet we live on; to better predict the future and to explain current occurrences of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides.

A paleontologist, on the other hand, looks at fossil remains on many types of organisms on the earth's surface. Paleontology is the study of primitive life, including plant and animal organisms, fungi, bacteria, etc.

Also relevant for Paleontologist



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Career Attributes

  • $99,057
  • 32,000
  • 3.3
  • 14.1%
More Attributes