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Geology & Geophysics

Why Study Geology and Geophsics?

At present, the Earth and its atmosphere are all that we humans have to live on. In order to make the most of it, we need to understand what we, as humans, have done to the Earth over millenia, and what we're doing to it today. We also need to understand what the Earth has done and is doing to itself, over some four billion years and today. Geology and Geophysics are subjects that are fundamental to our understanding of the Earth's history, structure, resources and processes, and together they underpin some of the major issues of our times. These include climate change, environmental management, the use of natural resources like minerals, wind and water, and the predicition of natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions. Geologists and Geophysicists are scientists. They observe, measure and monitor; they calculate and predict; they hypothesise and maybe try again; they scrutinise the rocks beneath their feet and the air above their heads; they are both rigorous and creative. They do good work. It's possible our very existence may depend on it. What could be more important?

Geology is the study of the Earth, including such topics as plate tectonics; mountain building; the origin and evolution of life; the extinction of the dinosaurs; landscape evolution; climate and sea level change; and Earth's natural resources: minerals, fossil fuels, soils and water.

Geophysics uses physics and mathematics to examine the structure, properties and processes of the Earth and its atmosphere. These include the Earth's gravity and magnetism; its heat flow processes and volcanoes, its oceanographic and atmospheric processes; its deformation and earthquakes. Many of these processes manifest in what we call weather, hence the connection between Geophysics and meteorology. More generally, Geophysics is central to understanding and predicting natural hazards and exploring for energy and mineral resources.

Where do Geology and Geophysics Graduates Work?

Because the forces and resources of nature tend to be a national and/or global in scale, many of the work opportunities for Geology and Geophysics graduates are within government-related organisations or companies with international operations, for example in oil and gas exploration, drilling services or environmental engineering.

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) skills in particular are relevant for a range of organisations, including central and local government, regional councils, research organisations, consultancies, utility companies and forestry and agricultural companies.

Utility companies tend to contract out technical, structural and infrastructural work to consultants. These consultants may be Geology and Geophysics graduates with some work experience.

Download a complete copy of Career View on Geology and Geophysics below.

Career View on Geology & Geophysics is part of the Career View series produced by Career Development and Employmentat Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. While the booklet was originally developed for a New Zealand audience, we believe that graduates in Australia will also find the information within it relevant and useful.

Check out the excellent resources available on the Victoria University of Wellington's Careers homepage at www.vuw.ac.nz/st_services/careers