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Geologists study the materials, processes and history of the Earth. They study how rocks are formed and how they are changed over time due to changing geological conditions. Geologists explore the world to locate oil and gas reservoirs and mineral deposits and then work to help extract those resources.
Other geologists study Earth processes that often result in harm to humans and their properties such as earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding, and landslides. They use this understanding of geologic phenomena to avoid building in areas where there is a high probability of one or more of these damaging events occurring or to build structures that can withstand these damaging events.
Historical geologists investigate the evolution of plant and animal life, climate change, and the geologic history of the Earth by studying fossils, ice cores, and geological formations.
Geologists carry out a number of duties and use a wide variety of tools to perform their duties. They typically plan and conduct field studies where collect samples and conduct surveys as well as conduct laboratory tests on collected samples. Geologists locate deposits of natural resources (oil, gas, minerals, and water) and estimate their sizes by analyzing well logs (records of geologic formations obtained by drilling), aerial photographs, rock samples, and other sources of data.
In doing their jobs, geologists may use such tools as a rock hammer and chisel to collect the samples, ground-penetrating radar instrumentation to find oil and minerals, and/or x-ray diffraction and electron microscopy to understand the chemical and physical composition of rocks. They may also use remote sensing equipment to collect data and geographic information systems (GIS) and modeling software to analyze data. Geologists must have good communication skills. They make geologic maps and charts and write technical reports to convey collected and analyzed data. They present their findings to others.
Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree pathway in geology will be prepared for careers as:
- Geological and petroleum technicians $68,511*
- Mining and geological engineers $148,968*
*Source: www.texaswages.com, 2016 annual median salaries for Gulf Coast region