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Earth Sciences

Geoscientists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth. They may use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, minerals, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. They also study the Earth's internal composition, atmospheres, oceans, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Geosciences include mineralogists, crystallographers, paleontologists, stratigraphers, geodesists, and seismologists.

What do Geoscientists do?

  • Analyze and interpret geological, geochemical, or geophysical information from sources such as survey data, well logs, bore holes, or aerial photos.
  • Analyze and interpret geological data, using computer software.
  • Search for and review research articles or environmental, historical, and technical reports.
  • Plan or conduct geological, geochemical, or geophysical field studies or surveys, sample collection, or drilling and testing programs used to collect data for research or application.
  • Locate and estimate probable natural gas, oil, or mineral ore deposits or underground water resources, using aerial photographs, charts, or research or survey results.
  • Prepare geological maps, cross-sectional diagrams, charts, or reports concerning mineral extraction, land use, or resource management, using results of fieldwork or laboratory research.
  • Investigate the composition, structure, or history of the Earth's crust through the collection, examination, measurement, or classification of soils, minerals, rocks, or fossil remains.
  • Communicate geological findings by writing research papers, participating in conferences, or teaching geological science at universities.
  • They measure characteristics of the Earth, such as gravity or magnetic fields, using equipment such as seismographs, gravimeters, torsion balances, or magnetometers.
  • Assess ground or surface water movement to provide advice regarding issues such as waste management, route and site selection, or the restoration of contaminated sites.
  • Conduct geological or geophysical studies to provide information for use in regional development, site selection, or development of public works projects.
  • Develop applied software for the analysis and interpretation of geological data.
  • Advise construction firms or government agencies on dam or road construction, foundation design, land use, or resource management.
  • Inspect construction projects to analyze engineering problems, applying geological knowledge and using test equipment and drilling machinery.
  • dentify deposits of construction materials, and assess the materials' characteristics and suitability for use as concrete aggregates, road fill, or in other applications.
  • Test industrial diamonds or abrasives, soil, or rocks to determine their geological characteristics, using optical, x-ray, heat, acid, or precision instruments. 
  • Identify risks for natural disasters such as mud slides, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, providing advice on mitigation of potential damage.
  • Design geological mine maps, monitor mine structural integrity, or advise and monitor mining crews.

Some scientists use information from satellites, space probes, telescopes, meteorites and computers to explore the planets of our solar system. They also investigate the moons of the planets, asteroids, comets, meteors, and even the dust between the planets. They work with biologists and geologists to search for evidence of life on other planets and for the reasons that some animals on Earth, such as dinosaurs, became extinct. What they learn not only leads to exciting new discoveries about other planets and moons, but helps us to better understand Earth and the origin of life. Geoscientists follow paths of exploration and discovery in a quest to find solutions to problems and questions of our Earth and the universe.

Links to descriptions of different geo-related job information:

Job Description Geoscientist

Job Description Planetary geologist

Job Description Geophysicist

Courtesy: [American Geological Institute,]

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