Geologists work to understand the history of our planet. The better they can understand Earth’s history the better they can foresee how events and processes of the past might influence the future. For example:
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 processes: Many processes such as landslides, earthquakes, floods and volcanic 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 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.
Engineering geologists are concerned with the detailed technical analysis of earth material and the risk assessment of geological hazards. Their role is to ensure that geological factors affecting engineering works are identified and provided for. They assess the integrity of soil, rock, groundwater and other natural conditions prior to major construction projects. They also advise on procedures required for such developments and the suitability of appropriate construction materials.
Engineering geologists are also involved with analysing sites and designs for environmentally sensitive developments, such as landfill sites. By monitoring development areas and analysing ground conditions, they ensure that structures can be secure in the short and long term.
Where do Geologists work?
Natural resource companies, environmental consulting companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and universities. Many geologists do field work at least part of the time. Others spend their time in laboratories, classrooms or offices.
Employment opportunities for geologists are very good. Most geology graduates with a strong academic background and good grades have no trouble finding employment if they are willing to move to a location where work is available. Exploration geology or petroleum geology for example can take you far away from family and home. Mining geology is more accommodating.