Geologists study the structure and composition of rocks
and minerals by analysing samples and conducting
surveys. Their findings are used to assess the
commercial potential, viability and impact of operations
such as drilling and construction, and to compile data on
the probability of hazards such as subsidence or
earthquakes. Methods used include drilling, seismic
surveying, satellite and aerial imagery, and
The information geologists gather has applications in a number of industries, including:
The hours a geologist works will depend on the type of
geological work being undertaken. Some projects may
mean normal office hours are worked, with occasional
evening or weekend work to meet deadlines.
Where the work includes direct involvement in exploration, surveying and production, a geologist may have to work very long hours, possibly in very demanding conditions and in remote locations. A mining geologist will often work underground in wet and dirty conditions.
Work is conducted both in laboratories and offices, and outside, on land or at sea. Periods away from home are common, and can involve foreign travel. Protective clothing and safety equipment is necessary for certain activities.
To be a geologist, you should:
There are opportunities for employment in all of the
industry sectors previously listed in the work section.
Geologists can also work in education. The largest single
employer of geologists in the UK is the British Geological
Survey, which is part of the Natural Environment
Research Council (NERC).
Promotion prospects depend on the type and size of the organisation with which you are employed. Larger ones have career structures with promotion depending on annual reviews; organisations which employ small numbers of geologists will have limited opportunities, and promotion is often achieved through moving employer.
Many geologists set up as consultants, or to move into other sectors such as teaching and management.
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