What Are the Different Types of Geologists?

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  • Written By: Melanie Smeltzer
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2018
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Geology is the study of the materials that make up the Earth. The two main focuses of this particular field are to discover the history of the Earth by analyzing the structures of the Earth's materials, and to study how certain natural processes have altered these materials in the past and how they will affect them in the future. Although many geologists can be found getting their hands dirty in jobs like environmental and petroleum geology, others may be involved in less physical operations, such as environmental law and education. Additionally, those working in geology may further their education in specialized fields and become paleontologists, geophysicists, and oceanographers.

Many of the best-known geology careers involve the study of the history of Earth and its natural processes. These jobs typically require specialized training and can include titles such as paleontologist, seismologist, and volcanologist. Paleontologists are geologists who focus on the study of rock formations to gain an understanding of how the climate has affected plant and animal life in the past and how it will alter it in the future.


Geologists who study the activity of volcanoes are known as volcanologists. This career requires the volcanologist to travel to the sites of past eruptions in order to gain insight on future activity. Seismologists are researchers, and work to interpret the structures and geological composition of the Earth in order to determine and evaluate the impact of natural and artificial events, such as earthquakes and explosions. Additionally, they may be involved in ensuring the safety of buildings by helping to establish and improve construction standards.

As well as those who study the history and processes of the Earth, some geologists work to help further the development of modern civilization. These fields include engineering, field, petroleum, and economic geology. Those who work in engineering geology are often the consultants of civil and mechanical engineers. They typically help to oversee both the planning and construction of major structures such as buildings, bridges, landfills, and dams.

The main function of the field geologist is to survey certain areas, with the goal of creating detailed maps of these spots. Additionally, this type of geology may also involve monitoring the removal of unwanted pollutants from the earth and assessing certain locations for geological activity. Petroleum and economic geology involve locating areas and sometimes creating maps that identify the location of resources such as gas and oil.


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