Introduction to Geology
Geology is the study of the Earth’s structures, processes, and materials which make up our planet. It explains how the mountains and valleys around us have come to exist, helps to explain natural disasters, gives us a glimpse into the past, and so much more.
What Does Geology Study?
Rocks and Minerals: The Building Blocks of Geology
The Earth’s crust is made up of rocks and minerals. Rocks are a mixture of different minerals and make up various geological formations. Mineralogy is a branch of Geology that deals with the scientific study of minerals. These minerals not only make up the rocks we see but also have various industrial applications from construction to electronics and much more.
Plate Tectonics: The Forces Behind Earthquakes and Volcanoes
The Earth’s mantle is divided into plates that continually move around causing earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the formation of mountains. Plate Tectonics is a key area of Geology that deals with the study of these movements. Plate tectonics are responsible for creating the rock cycle which is a continuous process of the formation and destruction of rocks.
Paleontology: The Science of Fossils
Paleontology is the branch of geology that deals with the study of fossils and the history of life on Earth. It’s used to understand the evolution of Earth’s flora and fauna, and to study the impact of climate change on the planet.
Geohazards: The Natural Disasters
Geohazards refer to natural disasters that occur on Earth due to geological processes. Geohazards include volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and much more. Understanding our planet’s geological processes is critical to predicting, preparing, and managing these natural disasters that can leave a huge impact.
Becoming a Geologist
School: Bachelor’s degree in Geosciences, Environmental Sciences, Earth Science, or something similar + National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) license
Field Experience: Get involved in the field with internships, assisting with research, on the ground camps
Where You’ll Work: Government agencies (Natural disaster preparedness, excavations, natural resources, etc), academic institutions (middle or high school, college professor, or researcher), private and non-profit companies (natural resources, impact, regulations, etc)
Pay: Average pay was $83,680 in 2021 for all geoscientists
Advancements: Masters or Ph.D., especially when going into research or teaching at a higher level