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Geologists study the nature, composition and structure of the earth to locate materials and minerals, and to increase scientific knowledge. They also advise on the extraction of minerals, as well as on environmental protection, the rehabilitation of land after mining and on civil engineering projects.

Duties & Tasks
Geologists may perform the following tasks:
  • explore specific areas of the earth to determine its structure and the types of rocks or minerals that are present
  • study rock cores, cuttings and samples
  • study geostatistics and sampling theory
  • study fossilised life forms and date rock strata
  • study the nature and effects of natural events such as erosion, sedimentation, glaciation, earthquakes and volcanic hazards
  • locate and manage groundwater resources, investigate groundwater contamination and land salinity
  • undertake geochemical sampling of stream sediment and soils
  • undertake ground or airborne magnetic, gravity and other geophysical surveys
  • examine geological specimens in laboratories using optical and electron microscopes, X-ray diffraction and other electronic, chemical and mechanical techniques
  • advise on determining the economic viability of extracting earth resources
  • advise on the geological suitability of sites for structures such as tunnels, roads, coastal installations, bridges and water supply schemes
  • contribute information about land use, planning and rehabilitation, and the effects of pollution on seabeds to environmental assessments
  • use computers to integrate and interpret data sets of geological information
  • prepare geological models to describe processes and predict future situations
  • prepare geological reports and maps.
  • Working conditions
    Geologists work in laboratories, offices and in the field. They may work independently or as members of a mixed team of professional and non-professional staff. They may have contact with the public, especially if needing permission to go onto private land. Fieldwork can involve spending time in remote desert, tropical or Antarctic/Arctic regions. The hours of work can be irregular and it may be necessary to spend long periods away from home.
    Personal requirements
  • enjoy technical and scientific activities
  • willing to adhere to safety requirements
  • able to work independently or as part of a team
  • able to prepare accurate records and reports
  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • prepared to work outdoors in a range of environments and on irregular schedules.
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