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"The Geologist" by Carl Spitzweg

A geologist is a contributor to the science of geology, studying the physical structure and processes of the Earth and planets of the solar system (see planetary geology).

Training / Schooling

Their undergraduate training typically includes significant coursework in chemistry, physics, mathematics and possibly biology, in addition to classes offered through the geology department; volcanology, hydrology, and rock and mineral formation are among the many areas of study. Most geologists also need skills in GIS and other mapping techniques. Geology students may spend summers living and working under field conditions with faculty members. Geology courses are also highly valuable to students of geography, engineering, chemistry, urban planning, [ environmental studies, and other fields.

Areas of specialisation

Geologists may concentrate their studies or research in one or more of the following disciplines;

  • Structural geology - the study of fold (geology), geological fault, foliation (geology) and rock microstructure to determine the metamorphic and deformational history of rocks and regions
  • Sedimentology - the study of sedimentary rocks, strata, formations, eustasy and the processes of modern day sedimentary and erosive systems
  • Volcanology - the study of land mass, their eruptions, lavas, magma processes and hazards.
  • Igneous petrology - the study of igneous processes such as igneous differentiation, fractional crystallization, intrusive and volcanological phenomena
  • Metamorphic petrology - the study of the effects of metamorphism on minerals and rocks
  • Isotope geology - the study of the isotopic composition of rocks to determine the processes of rock and planetary formation
  • Palaeoclimatology - the application of geological science to determine the climatic conditions present in the Earth's atmosphere within the Earth's history
  • Geochronology - the study of isotope geology specifically toward determining the date within the past of rock formation, metamorphism, mineralization and geological events (notably, meteorite impacts)
  • Palaeontology - the classification and taxonomy of fossils within the geological record and the construction of a palaeontological history of the Earth
  • Economic geology -the study of ore genesis, and the mechanisms of ore creation, geostatistics
  • Geochemistry - the study of the chemical makeup and behaviour of rocks, and the study of the behaviour of their minerals
  • Pedology - the study of soil, soil formation, and regolith formation

Employment opportunities

Professional geologists work for a wide range of government agencies, private firms, and non-profit and academic institutions. Local, state, and national governments hire geologists to help plan and evaluate excavations, construction sites, environmental remediation projects, and natural disaster preparedness, as well as to investigate natural resources. An engineering geologist (a geologist trained, experienced and certified in the field of engineering geology) is called upon to investigate geologic hazards and geologic constraints for the planning, design and construction of public and private engineering projects, forensic and post-mortem studies, and environmental impact analysis. Exploration geologists utilize all aspects of geology and geophysics to locate and study natural resources. Petroleum and mining companies use mudloggers (or wellsite geologists) and large-scale land developers use geologists' and engineering geologists' skills to help them locate oil and minerals, adapt to local features such as karst deposits or the risk of earthquakes, and comply with environmental regulations. Geologists in academia usually hold an advanced degree in a specialized area within the discipline.

See also

  • List of geologists
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