Who is a geologist and what does he do?

Geology is not only the search for fossils, as the average member of society believes. It is multifaceted — only there are so many specializations within the profession that it is difficult to count them offhand. Moreover, some facets of geology are in close contact with chemistry, physics, biology and archeology.

Description of the profession

A real geologist, in love with his profession, is sure that it is his specialty that is the most ancient on earth, and this is quite logical. Already the cavemen were searching for suitable places for parking, with protection from wild animals, natural precipitation and cold winds. As Homo erectus developed, the archanthrope (the most ancient man) learned to use fire, and then to extract combustible material for it, to use various types of stone as tools and weapons. This was the beginning of geology, the source of knowledge of the world and the knowledge of minerals.

Viewed from this point of view, geology is more than 2 million years old, has a rich and entertaining history. The name geology, like most scientific names, comes from the Greek words geo and logos, which means: earth and doctrine. Literally — the doctrine of the earth.

The term owes its appearance to the Norwegian scientist M. Esholt, who introduced it into circulation in 1657. This section of natural science contains many subsections, but its main task is the exploration of mineral deposits, the study of the structure, composition of the earth’s crust and the whole earth in general, rocks and plains in particular. However, this is only a generalization, in fact, geology is a fusion, a whole complex of various sciences, from mathematics to biology.

More than a century ago, the geologist’s motto was the idiom «Mind and hammer», which could be safely enriched with the addition: «eyes, hands, feet, sometimes smell.» However, since then, technology has advanced so far that space and aerial surveys, as well as quadcopter drones, have come to the aid of scouts, not to mention more mundane technologies. Field workers have at their disposal drilling and geophysical equipment, computers, laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, special computer programs, and so on. A geologist must be able to use all this without putting a working hammer on a museum shelf.

The result of complex, sometimes dangerous, almost always exhausting, hard, but attractive and selfless labor is the numerous development of oil, gas, coal, mineral and iron reservoirs. Diamonds, gems, gold, silver and platinum, rare earth metals and deposits of uranium, which is the basis of the country’s nuclear shield — all this priceless wealth is available thanks to geological surveys of enthusiasts and professionals.


Features of the profession.

  • Organization and conduct of geological surveys and prospecting.

  • Exploration on land and in sea conditions, assessment of the prospects of discovered deposits.

  • Clarification of places for mine workings, drilling and overburden operations.

  • Planning of operational exploration and mining activities.

  • Study of the geological structure of the deposit and subsequent monitoring of production activities, as well as the state of development.

  • Cameral summary of the activities carried out and the results of survey work.

In geology, there are 3 main categories:

  1. descriptive Geology, whose responsibility is to study the location and location of geological formations, rocks, minerals, their composition and a description of the results obtained;

  2. dynamic geology — the section is devoted to the study of evolutionary changes in geological processes such as volcanic eruptions, shifts of tectonic plates;

  3. historical geology, responsible for studying the sequence and alternation of geological changes in the past of the planet, as well as predicting them in the future.


The future geologist is a person with a certain mindset and character. He must have an inquisitive mind, inclined to analyze events, predisposed to three-dimensional and spatial thinking, which is so necessary for a dynamic profession.

Important and necessary qualities:

  • endurance and good physical health;

  • readiness to work in the field at any time of the year and in any climatic conditions.

In addition to physical parameters, there are many qualities related to psychological characteristics:

  • good memory, logical, analytical, flexible thinking, ability to predict, prompt and independent decisions;

  • observation, responsibility, initiative, perseverance, ability to concentrate, resistance to negative factors and perseverance, readiness to work in a team and in irregular working hours.

Career prospects, as in any other profession, depend on personal qualities, initiative and dedication. Constant expeditions at the beginning of a horizontal career path, gaining experience and seniority. As a result, this leads to high professionalism and demand as an expert in various expensive and long-term projects. A vertical career is possible in scientific activities: from a laboratory assistant to the head of a laboratory, department, head of a department. This will require higher education, postgraduate studies, defense of doctoral and scientific dissertations.


Interest in the profession can be caused from childhood. There is a lot of popular science, fiction and educational literature for children devoted to entertaining geology and various cases from the life of geologists.

Geological faculties are available in sufficient numbers in higher educational institutions and colleges. The most popular universities are:

  • Moscow State University;

  • Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Yekaterinburg;

  • RAS in Moscow — Institute of Geology, Petrography, Mineralogy and Geochemistry;

  • Novosibirsk Institute named after V. S. Sobolev;

  • Geological Institute in Bashkiria, Ulan-Ude;

  • Institute of Geology in Vladivostok;

  • Geological Prospecting Institute. Sergo Ordzhonikidze.

Professions are taught at universities in Kamchatka, Sakhalin, Kazan, Murmansk, Apatity, Irkutsk, Ufa and at the Far Eastern Federal University.


Pros and cons


The work of a geologist, like most professions, consists of positive and negative qualities that you need to know about before making a choice, so as not to be disappointed later.

Advantages:

  • interesting creative work, unconventional and constantly requiring intellectual effort, since all deposits have different characteristics, and their search involves the analysis and comparison of many factors;

  • the work of a geologist is covered with romance, because it is not in vain that many songs have been written about him, and is inextricably linked with constant expeditions, trips, close contact with nature;

  • regular field expeditions allow you to visit all regions of the country;

  • the tent lifestyle is suitable for those for whom hiking and backpacking are a necessary part of life, and here they also pay for it.

Flaws:

  • the geologist is forced to work on a rotational basis and spend half of his life away from home and family;

  • there are no days off during the shift period, there are no basic amenities in the field;

  • people are forced to test themselves for strength and endurance every time, working hard in open spaces in cold or scorching heat;

  • close coexistence during expeditions in a team that is chosen by the management, and not by one’s own preferences.


There are also a large number of contraindications for the profession:

  • diseases of the cardiovascular system;

  • convulsions, loss of consciousness, epilepsy, neuropsychiatric disorders;

  • alcohol and drug addiction, binocular vision disorders and achromatopsia (lack of color discrimination);

  • impaired hearing, coordination and vestibular apparatus;

  • diseases of the spine, musculoskeletal system, gastrointestinal tract and diabetes mellitus.


All this and much more closes the road to geology, since difficult field conditions will pose a threat not only to a sick person, but in some cases to his companions and colleagues.


Varieties


Geology as a science and profession consists of many related specialized areas that have a common foundation but different goals. This approach makes it possible to study the subsoil in the necessary aspect and search for the necessary deposits, systematize the huge amount of data necessary to discover at least one field.

Petroleum Geologist

These are the specialists thanks to whose efforts the country has discovered the richest deposits of oil and gas. A petroleum geologist searches for the required minerals, makes an assessment of the potential of newly discovered and already developed deposits. He is in charge of preparing the expedition: studying and systematizing a lot of data, drawing up a search plan, selecting and preparing the necessary tools and equipment, developing tactics and search directions. After all tasks have been completed and the search has been successfully completed, it is up to geologists to participate in the design and control of oil or gas production.

exploration geologist


We are talking about geotechnical engineers, whose task is to directly study the surface, where further construction work on the construction of buildings will be carried out. He is responsible for assessing the degree of safety of work on a particular site, compiling a list of recommendations for the optimal implementation of the project. The specialization of an engineer-hydrogeologist involves the exploration and search for groundwater.

Sometimes duties include mapping, surveying the soil, and assessing the terrain. This is work in laboratories and in the field.

Geologist-technician

A mining technician is a specialist in exploration and prospecting for minerals. Its tasks include the discovery and subsequent description of geological objects, sampling of various rocks, the study of the bowels and much more. A geotechnical technician is obliged to participate in thematic and experimental-methodological events, he must organize, conduct and eliminate the consequences of field work. On his shoulders lies the responsibility for receiving, storing and returning special geological equipment, he obtains the necessary information in the field, is engaged in cameral processing and systematization of the received data.


Geologist-biologist


This specialization refers to the study and comparison of the formation of minerals and the existence of various biological species on earth in the past.. For example, oil owes its appearance to the decay of living organisms and plants that once lived at the bottom of ancient seas. Coal was formed as a result of the decomposition of organic remains of land plants. The specialist gives a theoretical basis for future research.

Hybrid geologist and historian

In this case, we are talking about paleontology and its applications in geology. Science is included in the program of geological departments of most universities. It is paleontology, combined with the history of ancient tectonic processes and the formation of biological species, that helps to date rocks, and then determine the direction of the search.

Geologist-geochemist

A geochemist is a specialist in the study of physical and chemical natural processes occurring throughout the existence of the planet.. A geochemist not only studies, but also models, determines the applied value of the data obtained, conducts chemical research, and determines the location of deposits.

cognitive geologist


Unlike the specializations listed above, a cognitive geologist is not a person. This is an artificial intelligence developed jointly by scientists and programmers for the Gazprom Neft Corporation. A cognitive geologist has a powerful ability to analyze, interpret, recommend, and make decisions based on a wealth of data. AI is able to create the most conceptual geological scenarios, it automates most of the routine exploration operations and offers the most efficient investment algorithms.

Other

The listed specialties in the profession of a geologist are not exhaustive. In addition to these, there are others such as topographer and cartographerresponsible for studying the area and compiling various maps. Geosteering provide support and real-time monitoring of the drilling process. There is such a specialty as a drilling supervisor, who is responsible for the technological process of mining.

A soil scientist, a geodesist — they all belong to the comprehensive profession of a geologist and are responsible for studying the surface of the earth and the earth’s crust.

Job description


For the profession, there is a professional standard — a mandatory instruction approved and entered in the ETKS (unified tariff and qualification guide), which fully takes into account the specifics of the geologist’s activity.

Responsibilities

This list is quite extensive and below are the main tasks:

  • collection of necessary data on the ground;

  • entering the information received and compiling a database — plans, schedules, tables related to the activities;

  • control over compliance with the instructions for the performance of work;

  • providing valuable guidance and creating tasks for compiling and filing documentation, as well as testing and validating new equipment and introducing new technologies.

With the help of special techniques, a geologist must be able to calculate the reserves of deposits, compile collections of rock samples, calculate the coefficient of their complexity with respect to drilling, the tendency to loosening, strength, and more. Everything that a geologist does and does must be carried out taking into account the requirements of labor safety.

Knowledge and skills

The profession requires not only a large amount of knowledge, but also a willingness to constantly learn and improve skills. The main requirements are knowledge of the exact sciences, which are the cornerstone for a geologist. He has to not only extract rock samples, but also carry out calculations and calculations using the most complex formulas. He must know the basics of chemistry, be able to work with laboratory equipment and conduct chemical analyses. A geologist must know and understand soil science and mineralogy. Every modern geologist must be proficient in computers and office equipment, operate such programs as AutoCad, CorelDraw, ArcMap, Micromine, Gems.

Proficiency in English and other languages ​​is not a requirement, but without this it is difficult to reach certain heights, especially if a specialist is interested in career growth.

Education

To obtain a specialty in applied geology, one must study at the Faculty of Geology in a higher educational institution after 11 classes. Professions in certain specialties, for example, drilling foreman, radiometer or explosives technician, can be obtained in educational institutions that provide secondary vocational education. Universities will have to take exams in certain subjects. The passing score varies slightly in different universities and largely depends on the chosen specialization. It is higher for budget places than for paid ones. Any applicant must understand that science is not static, and in the future he will have to regularly improve his qualifications.

Rights

This concept includes the right to combine several specialties and even professions, to put forward proposals for conducting work in accordance with research programs. The geologist has the right to receive compensation for the independent purchase of equipment, tools, protective equipment. And also his right is to use one working day a week for cameral work in the library or at home, with the exception of the field period, and receive free special training for work in a geological exploration expedition.

A specialist without experience has the right to employment after graduation. The demand for geologists in our country guarantees getting a job.

Place of work

The place of work can be not only exploration companies and expeditions. The profession involves the ability to develop programs for research activities, obliges to study the data obtained, draw up documentation, draw up reports, and much more. A geologist can work on expeditions, be a member of geophysical and drilling parties, work at research institutes in their field. There is a great demand for specialists in independent organizations that need geological exploration.

Even without work experience, yesterday’s student will easily find a place in mining and oil and gas companies.

How much does he earn?

The salary of a geologist largely depends on the length of service in the specialty, and, of course, on the position held and his professionalism.. The amounts are made up of a fixed salary, various allowances and coefficients, for example, regional, northern. To this is added a bonus for working on an expedition, for difficult conditions, for example, activities in high-mountainous or desert waterless regions.

The average salary in Russia ranges from 65 to 167 thousand rubles. But at the same time, it must be taken into account that the shift method implies payment only for actual working hours. Consequently, the northern salary of 120-150 thousand rubles per month of shift includes the next month of rest. That is, the sum should be divided in two. The salary of a geologist in Moscow and the Moscow region ranges from 30 to 110 thousand rubles, which also largely depends on the level of professionalism and type of activity.

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