Geology is the study of planet Earth's history and how it may evolve in the future. Geologists work in many different environments, from labs to universities to excavation sites. They have different skills and are able to study water, rocks and other materials to determine both past and future events, and how these events affect plants, mammals, birds and sea life.
Study of Earth's Processes
Geologists study volcanic eruptions, landslides, earthquakes and floods to better understand how and why they occurred. Geologists work to create structures, maps and guides that may assist builders and developers find safe land to build housing communities. Insurance companies also work with geologists to determine areas where flood insurance, earthquake insurance and natural disaster insurance might be needed. Geologists often work with environmental scientists to determine how and why climate change is occurring.
Study of Earth's Materials
Geologists study rocks to determine the presence of minerals. This information may be used by mining companies to build mines to extract the minerals. Some geologists work in paleontology, which is the study of the remains of ancient animal and plant fossils in order to understand their behavior, environmental circumstance and evolutionary history. Geologists can also locate oil and natural gas reserves. This information is critical for oil and gas drilling operations.
Some geologists study rocks and materials from other planets besides Earth. These materials are usually brought back by unmanned and manned space exploration missions. The information helps the scientific community learn more about the universe and determine if there are life forms on other planets.
Where They Work
Geologists work for natural resource companies, governmental agencies and colleges and universities. Some work as environmental consultants. Geologists usually spend at least part of their time doing field research and laboratory analysis.
Geologists usually have a bachelor's degree. A master's degree may lead to research work in the public or private sector. A doctorate is usually required to teach and conduct research at a college or university.