What is a Geologist?

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

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.

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What does a Geologist do?

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.

How to become a Geologist

The minimal education required for entering the field of geology is a four-year bachelor's degree in geology, combined with courses related to a specific specialization. In high school, one should prepare for the scientific and mathematical rigour of the geology course load by focusing on sciences, mathematics, writing, computers, geography, and public communication. These skills, along with personal dedication, are essential for success as a geologist.

After undergraduate school, many geologists continue on in education to pursue master's degrees and doctorate degrees in various areas of specialization. These include paleontology, mineralogy, volcanology, or hydrology.

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