Geologist Career Profile

Geologists study the nature of soils and rock formations. Their work is economically very important, and includes major roles in the oil and mining industries. 

The Work Environment

Geologists work in multiple environments. Their academic and laboratory work environments are the primary workplace, but field studies and consultation are also major parts of their professional workload.

Geologists are best known for their work in the mining industry and oil industry, and this work is good description of the nature of their fundamental roles. In mining operations, geophysicists play a major part in mining exploration. This is known as "exploration geophysics".

Mining sector geologists analyze areas of ore deposits. Their findings are very important commercially. In many cases capital raising for mining ventures rests on proof of the value of ore bodies provided by geologists. Mining companies use this raw data and analyses to determine:

The nature of mineral deposits and mining areas: This includes the types of geological formation, mineralization patterns, and other raw data concerning the mining area. This is very like "mapping" the underground environment. It's extremely important work, because the miners have to deal with these formations to find and extract ore. 

Testing ore samples for commercial viability: Ore samples in the same area may vary widely, producing relatively high and low volumes of commercial ore. The geophysicist has to achieve a definitive valuation of these samples. That can be a very difficult process, requiring exhaustive testing. Miners must have proof of commercial deposits of ore prior to starting commercial operations. 

The extraction methods required: The geologist's findings directly affect the type of extraction methods used. Some mining operations with low concentrations of ore require extremely efficient, cost-effective, methods of mining. 

Identifying mining issues in geological formations: Another big cost to miners is dealing with problems created by geological formations. A mining operation's economics can be seriously affected by the need to dig through large amounts of hard rock, high levels of acidity, or sandy deposits which require expensive extraction methods. The geologist identifies these problems as part of their work into structural analysis of the ore bearing formations. 

Wages: $35,000 to $100,000, based on experience and qualifications. Consultancy fees may apply which significantly increase income potentials.

Hours: Can be highly variable, depending on the nature of the work.

The Career Environment

Geologists work in critical areas of commercial science which include both intrinsic values and important crossover points with other sciences. Those two factors greatly expand their career options. Because they can work in multiple areas of study, they can also work as in-house project experts in areas like environmental studies, engineering, seismology and water resources.

They can also operate as project consultants. A construction project, for example, may require detailed structural analysis of the subsoil, water table, drainage, and other factors related to the construction. Major engineering projects like dams also require high levels of analysis for construction purposes.

Career progression for geologists is based on professional qualifications and achievements. The broad range of applications of their science allows for a high level of job mobility throughout various sectors of industry and academic research.