Geologist

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Practical or MechanicalClerical or OrganisingNature or RecreationScientific or AnalyticSkill Level 5

Geologists examine and record the structure and make-up of the earth and associated materials, such as rocks and fossils. Their tasks include studying samples of earth or rock core to measure the effect Future Growth Very Strong of soil erosion, and preparing reports on their findings for relevant government or scientific bodies. Geologists may also work for one of the many mining companies that search for precious materials all over the State.

ANZSCO description: Studies the composition, structure and other physical attributes of the earth to increase scientific knowledge and to develop practical applications in fields such as mineral exploitation, civil engineering, environmental protection and rehabilitation of land after mining.

 

 

Rockface
Rockface

 

Specialisations

Database Geologist - maintains and updates the database of drilling and assay results acquired during exploration and mining. This involves receiving incoming new data, uploading it, and constantly ensuring that data is correct and up to date.

Engineering Geologist - works with engineers to carry out detailed geological mapping before major construction work, assesses the qualities of building stone and quarry rocks used for building and road construction, and assesses geological structures for open-cut and underground mine stability and safety, and foundations for building.

Environmental Geologist - studies the nature of ground and surface waters, soil movement, erosion and degradation, salinisation and coastal erosion; the effects of pollution and human activity on rivers and seas; and the environmental effects of mining, nuclear energy and waste disposal.

Field/Exploration Geologist - carries out surveys to determine the geological structure, distribution and age of rocks and investigate where particular natural resources are likely to be found.

Geochemist/Mineralogist/Petrologist - studies the mineral and chemical composition of rocks using equipment such as optical and electron microscopes, X-ray diffraction, atomic absorption and mass spectrometry. They may also be involved in examining the transport of pollutants through rock masses.

Geomorphologist - studies the evolution and age of landforms and land surfaces.

Hydrogeologist - evaluates and manages the quality, quantity, reliability and sustainability of all aspects of water resources. They are concerned with groundwater and the soil-moisture variation, amount, speed and direction of groundwater flow, extraction and replenishment of groundwater, and water chemistry and pollution.

Mathematical Geologist - models the outcome of geological processes by devising and applying the most appropriate data and computer models.

Mine Site Geologist - monitors and controls the grade (or quality) of the ore mined. They also advise on assessments of the areas of an ore body that should be mined at a particular time, and on defining the ore limits at the mine based on economic considerations.

Palaeontologist - examines, classifies and describes animal and plant fossils found in sedimentary rocks. Understanding the evolutionary order of the fossil record is particularly important in oil exploration.

Petroleum Geologist - explores and charts stratigraphic arrangement, composition and the structure of the Earth's surface layers to locate petroleum and natural gas. They estimate the size and distribution of reserves using seismic and geological survey evidence and recommend the most appropriate drilling and production methods.

Stratigrapher - deals with the order in which sedimentary rock strata have been deposited, their age and the processes by which they were formed.

Structural Geologist - studies rock structures in field mapping and in laboratory studies to reveal the history of folding and faulting, and how these structures can influence mine engineering and building foundations. They also conduct studies in water flow in aquifers.

 

Geologist core samples
Geologist studying core samples

 

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A geologist needs:

  • physical fitness
  • to enjoy working outdoors
  • the ability to undertake detailed and delicate operations
  • strong organisational skills
  • to be able to work well as part of a team.

Duties and Tasks

Geology is a broad field that includes many areas such as geophysics, environmental geology, energy resources, or mining and mineral extraction.

As a geologist, you might:

  • assess the ground for building suitability on engineering projects like dam or tunnel building

  • advise on suitable sites for landfill or storage of nuclear waste

  • search for energy resources and minerals, such as gas and oil

  • design projects to search for new water supplies

  • study volcanic and seismic activity to develop early warning systems for earthquake zones

  • advise on civil engineering projects, or on the rehabilitation of land after mining activity.

You would use a range of investigation methods in your work, including drilling, seismic surveying, satellite and aerial imagery, and electromagnetic measurement.

Working conditions

Geologists work in a wide range of settings, depending on their specialisation. Exposure to the elements is an important part of a geologist's fieldwork, as is the possibility of working in remote and isolated locations. In Australia, geologists might conduct research in areas as diverse as rivers, along the coastline, in mine sites and the outback.

Tools and technologies

Equipment and technology used by geologists during the course of their fieldwork or in laboratories may include microscopes, GIS mapping software, compasses, picks, and rock hammers. Safety clothing such as helmets, protective glasses and steel capped boots need to be worn in most locations, particularly those involving rocky or dusty terrain.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a geologist you usually need to complete a degree in science with a major in geology or a related science.

 

Did You Know? 


Australia has some of the oldest geological features in the world with the oldest known rocks dating from more than 3000 million years ago and rare zircon crystals dating back 4400 million years located in much younger rocks. The zircons evolved very soon after the planet was formed. These ancient features compare with the oldest known rock on Earth in northwestern Canada. Scientists say that rock was formed 4031 million years ago.

Some areas of Victoria and Queensland are geologically much younger as a result of volcanic activity which last erupted a few thousand years ago. Australia's youngest mainland volcano is Mount Gambier in South Australia which last erupted only about 6000 years ago.

In recent years, the advent of improved technology and more extensive geological exploration has resulted in a greater knowledge of the age of rocks in Australia. It has resulted also in an increased ability to better understand the continent's past. This has been achieved by combining exploration methods such as deep seismic surveys with geochronology methods, including use of equipment such as the Sensitive High-Resolution Ion Microprobe, or SHRIMP. This equipment uses uranium and lead isotopes from tiny portions of zircon crystals which have been extracted from rock samples to calculate the age of the crystal based on the natural decay rate of uranium to lead. The SHRIMP is central to Geoscience Australia's geochronology program.

(Source:
Geoscience Australia)

Geological map of Australia
Geological Map of Australia
(Source: Wikipedia)

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Robotics Engineer

Pharmacologist

Archaeologist

Mathematician

Scientist

Forensic Scientist

Environmental Scientist

Marine Biologist

Museum Curator

Biochemist

Entomologist

Conservator

MicrobiologistAgricultural Scientist

Industrial Designer

Inventor

Geneticist

Biotechnologist

Criminologist

Botantist

Agronomist

Historian

Geologist

Soil Scientist

Immunologist

Hydrologist

Anthropologist

Cartographer

Zoologist

Geophysicist

University Lecturer

Exercise Sports Scientist

Oceanographer

Astronomer

Political Scientist

Physicist

Toxicologist

Haematologist

Medical Laboratory Technician

Robotics Engineer

Pharmacologist

Archaeologist

Mathematician

Scientist

Forensic Scientist

Environmental Scientist

Marine Biologist

Museum Curator

Biochemist

Entomologist

Conservator

Microbiologist

Agricultural Scientist

Industrial Designer

Inventor

Geneticist

Biotechnologist

Criminologist

Botantist

Agronomist

Historian

Geologist

Soil Scientist

Immunologist

Hydrologist

Anthropologist

Cartographer

Zoologist

Geophysicist

University Lecturer

Exercise Sports Scientist

Oceanographer

Astronomer

Political Scientist

Physicist

Toxicologist

Haematologist

Medical Laboratory Technician

Robotics Engineer

Pharmacologist