Geologists study and work with the earth and this can include determining what makes up the ground in a specific area, understanding the history of how the earth was formed, and making predictions for the future. With an education in geology, you can work in a number of roles within the geology industry. Since many times the most important structural instabilities come from the ground under us, it’s important to have a sufficient picture of the variables that can come into place. Let’s take a look at the goals of a geologist and how this translates into a career in this field.
One of the main goals of geologists is to study and understand the make-up of the earth. By understanding the history of how the earth was formed (and continues to change), geologists can guess at what is found under that top level of soil, but geologists work to actually explore areas of the earth as well. Primarily, this is helpful in the mining and oil/gas extraction industries, as geologists can help predict and confirm where valuable resources are located under the earth’s surface. The importance of knowing how much of particular minerals exist underground can’t be understated. Since there are a number of resources that exist on a very limited basis, it’s important to know each item’s availability, especially if there’s an established use for it, such as coal, salt, or many others.
Understanding Climate Change and Natural Disasters
Geologists work with the earth, not weather – but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t involved with studying climate change and helping prepare for and even predict natural disasters. Volcanoes, earthquakes, and landslides can all drastically affect people living in the nearby area, as well as disturb animal habitats. Geologists can also note how weather events such as tsunamis and hurricanes can cause erosion, which can affect the population drastically. Inversely, hurricanes and tsunamis can result from different geological events, which are interesting to study and forecast. From determining how natural disasters will affect an area to helping create plans for action to take after events happen. Especially as climate change has become increasingly prevalent, the place geologists have in society is of increased value. Also, as more global warming takes place and changes ocean levels, areas that have not seen sitting water in thousands of years will be subject to intense erosion and shifts in rock formations. The impact geologists will have on society cannot be overstated and will only increase over time.
Starting with geological engineering, another goal of geologists is to keep people safe, even when the earth shifts in some way, whether abruptly though and earthquake or more slowly through erosion. Geological engineers work on projects to identify and solve geological problems when planning and constructing buildings and other projects. This is incredibly important due to the chance that a building could crumble as a result of deficiencies in the ground supporting it.
In order to work toward any of the above goals, geologists typically specialize in a single area of this field. Some of the specialties from which you can choose include:
- Marine geology
- Structure geology
Explore all of these areas – and more – to find the specialty that’s right for you. Since there are many different paths to explore concerning the field of Geology, it’s important to remember to find create your own main goals as a geologist. The career is structured in a way that allows for innovation on a number of fronts, so figure out what you’re trying to get out of this to be the most successful.