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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Geologist (disambiguation).

Geologist inspecting a freshly recovered drill-core.
"Picturesque camp made by a lone geologist on the cinders of Inferno," 1921
Geologists exploring Jurassic sedimentary rocks in Makhtesh Gadol, Negev Desert, Israel.
Geologists explaining the importance of volcanic ash layers to students on field in Iceland.

A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth and terrestrial planets. Geologists usually engage studying geology, and approach this using physics, chemistry and biology as well as other sciences.

Contents

Training / Schooling

Their undergraduate training typically includes significant coursework in physics, mathematics, chemistry and possibly biology, in addition to classes offered through the geology department; historical and physical geology, igneous and metamorphic petrology and petrography, hydrogeology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, mineralogy, palaeontology, physical geography and structural geology are among the many required areas of study. Most geologists also need skills in GIS and other mapping techniques. Geology students often spend portions of the year, especially the summer though sometimes during a January term, living and working under field conditions with faculty members (often referred to as "field camp"). Many non-geologists often take geology courses or have expertise in geology that they find valuable to their fields; this is common in the fields of geography, engineering, chemistry, urban planning, environmental studies, among others.

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Areas of specialization

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

  • Economic geology: the study of ore genesis, and the mechanisms of ore creation, geostatistics.
  • Engineering geology: application of the geologic sciences to engineering practice for the purpose of assuring that the geologic factors affecting the location, design, construction, operation and maintenance of engineering works are recognized and adequately provided for;
  • Geophysics: the applied branch deals with the application of physical methods such as gravity, seismicity, electricity, magnetic properties to study the earth.
  • Geochemistry: the applied branch deals with the study of the chemical makeup and behaviour of rocks, and the study of the behaviour of their minerals.
  • 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).
  • Geomorphology: the study of landforms and the processes that create them
  • Hydrogeology: the study of the origin, occurrence and movement of groundwater water in a subsurface geological system.
  • Igneous petrology: the study of igneous processes such as igneous differentiation, fractional crystallization, intrusive and volcanological phenomena .
  • Isotope geology: the study of the isotopic composition of rocks to determine the processes of rock and planetary formation.
  • Metamorphic petrology: the study of the effects of metamorphism on minerals and rocks.
  • Marine geology: the study of the seafloor; involves geophysical, geochemical, sedimentological and paleontological investigations of the ocean floor and coastal margins. Marine geology has strong ties to physical oceanography and plate tectonics.
  • Palaeoclimatology: the application of geological science to determine the climatic conditions present in the Earth's atmosphere within the Earth's history.
  • Palaeontology: the classification and taxonomy of fossils within the geological record and the construction of a palaeontological history of the Earth.
  • Pedology: the study of soil, soil formation, and regolith formation.
  • Petroleum geology: the study of sedimentary basins applied to the search for hydrocarbons (oil exploration).
  • Sedimentology: the study of sedimentary rocks, strata, formations, eustasy and the processes of modern day sedimentary and erosive systems.
  • Structural geology: the study of folds, faults, foliation and rock microstructure to determine the deformational history of rocks and regions.
  • Volcanology: the study of volcanoes, their eruptions, lavas, magma processes and hazards.

Employment opportunities

The rock hammer and hand lens (or loupe) are two of the most characteristic tools carried by geologists in the field.

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. Sometimes they are hired on a contract basis, and other times, they can be permanent staff of an official agency or survey, like the USGS. 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. In many countries or US states without specialized environmental remediation licensure programs, such as Rhode Island and North Carolina, the environmental remediation field is often dominated by professional geologists, particularly hydrogeologists, with professional concentrations in this aspect of the field. 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.

Beer

Perhaps no other group of scientists, or any other profession, has such a close relationship or association with drinking alcohol, specifically beer.[1][2] This has been attributed to many things, including: the field aspect of a geologist work (because (a)local water may not be trusted and (b)it is a fun way to pass the time around the campfire) or the creativity and cooperative nature of the science. Regardless of the reason, it gives many a certain perception or stereotype of geologists.

  • List of Geologists

References

  1. ^ http://www.agiweb.org/geotimes/aug04/resources.html
  2. ^ http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/15943/

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