In Summary - Geoscientist
Geoscientists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Geoscientist
Geophysicists study the physical structure of the Earth. They find out about the Earth's origins and development by analysing fossils,
Geophysicists understand how resources like oil, coal, gas and uranium are formed, and where they are likely to be found. They travel to areas where they think resources are, and take rock, soil and other samples to confirm their predictions. They control data quality and compile charts and reports.
In oil exploration, geophysicists must be very confident that the right area has been found before drilling begins. They need to know what type of structure is being drilled, and how stable it is. This information may be obtained by taking rock samples, or drilling boreholes into sea and rock beds. Most oil companies have research laboratories, where new discovery techniques are developed.
Other geophysicists find and manage water beneath the Earth's surface. This work is especially important in very hot countries, where water may exist mostly below ground. At the other extreme, geophysicists study and observe glaciers, tracing their origins and noting how they are affected by global climate change.
Some geophysicists monitor the behaviour of earthquakes and volcanoes. They study fault lines, caused by the movement of the Earth's rock plates, to predict earthquakes. They may be able to predict volcanic eruptions by studying the distribution of ash and lava deposits. Exploration geophysicists must know if an area they are working in is prone to earthquakes, and what effects an earthquake might have on the rocks, soil, water and building materials they are working with.
In seismic surveying, equipment is used to simulate vibrations from earthquakes. Vibrations are sent into the ground or sea, and the energy they produce eventually returns to the surface. Geophysicists are able to identify the type and shape of rocks and deposits beneath the surface by the different effects they have on the path of the energy. Geophysicists may advise on environmental issues, for example, the suitability of a proposed landfill site, methods to stop polluted water leaking from old mines, and the prevention of landslides.
Some geophysicists work as researchers or teachers in universities.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Analyze and interpret geological, geochemical, or geophysical information from sources such as survey data, well logs, bore holes, or aerial photos.
- 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.
- Prepare geological maps, cross-sectional diagrams, charts, or reports concerning mineral extraction, land use, or resource management, using results of fieldwork or laboratory research.
- Analyze and interpret geological data, using computer software.
- 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.
- 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.
- Locate and estimate probable natural gas, oil, or mineral ore deposits or underground water resources, using aerial photographs, charts, or research or survey results.
- Locate and review research articles or environmental, historical, or technical reports.
- Communicate geological findings by writing research papers, participating in conferences, or teaching geological science at universities.
- Measure characteristics of the Earth, such as gravity or magnetic fields, using equipment such as seismographs, gravimeters, torsion balances, or magnetometers.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Interests - Geoscientist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
As a geophysicist, you must be able to work in a team, and in independent research and exploration. You may be working on your own for long periods, for example, when mapping areas. You will need to be able to draw and read maps, displays and charts, and use computers to process data. You may also use a computer to produce three-dimensional models of geophysical features.
You must be able to express your ideas and findings clearly, both verbally and in writing, possibly in reports. An awareness of environmental issues may be an advantage.
You must be physically fit, especially if you work in remote areas of the world with difficult terrain. Patience and a willingness to travel are desirable traits.
Entry Requirements - Geoscientist
Pay & Salary - Geoscientist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 32k - 90k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Geoscientist
While the supply of graduates appears to be sufficient to meet the annual recruitment requirement (5,500 graduates in 2017), the demand is arising for roles for those with a high level of experience and/or in niche areas. The demand is for a small number of people given the relatively small size of this occupation (approx. 1% of total employment) and in the areas associated with pharmaceuticals, biopharma and food development.
National Skills Bulletin 2018