Current Issue 13thFebruary 2016 - 19 February 2016, i.e. No. 45


-- O S Shekhar Singh

Geology (Geo means earth and logos means science) is the science of study of earth, the materials of which it is made, the structure of those materials, and the processes acting upon them. It includes the study of organisms that have inhabited our planet. An important part of geology is the study of how Earth’s materials, structures, processes and organisms have changed over time. It is an inter-disciplinary science related to physics. chemistry, biology and mathematics. It is important to be interested in science and the environment. There are many branches of geology such as physical geology-study of work of natural processes which bring changes upon the earth’s surface; mineralogy-study of different kinds of minerals; petrology-study of different kinds of rocks; palaeontology-study of fossils; geomor-phology-study of morphology of earth’s surface; stratigraphy or historical geology- study of rock in relation to their deposition and age; structural geology-study of structures of rocks: volcanology-study of volcanoes; hydrogeology-study of water bearing capacity of rocks; economic geology-study of mineral deposits and fossil fuels; environmental geology-study of environment in relation to living and non-living; seismology-study of earthquakes; engineering geology- study of applications of geology to civil engineering works; mining geology-study of applications of geology to mining engineering; geophysics-applications of physics in geological study; rock mechanics- study of rocks under different civil engineering properties; geochemistry-study of different kinds of elements and their compounds in the earth.

What is the work like?

            Geologists are concerned with the structure, composition and evolution of the Earth and its natural resources. Geolo-gists work in a wide variety of different areas, including:

•   Energy exploration – using knowledge of how energy sources, such as oil, gas, coal and uranium, are formed and may be found. Geologists produce geological maps, select sites for surveys and production, conduct seismic surveys and interpret the results. They advise on drilling operations and collect and analyse samples from drilling.
•   Mining and quarrying – Using information from surveys and underground geological features to give advice on sources of materials such as slate, limestone, sand, gravel, clay, silica, gypsum and metallic ores. Geologists advise on exploration, produc-tion and future developments.
•   Water supplies - Studying the movement, behaviour and quality of groundwater (water beneath the Earth’s surface) and potential sources of pollution. Geologists also design exploration programmes for new water supplies, especially in developing countries.
•   Civil engineering - assessing the effect of ground conditions on the construction of buildings, roads, bridges, dams, tunnels, etc, and advising on how to avoid or reduce problems caused by subsidence, landslides and earthquakes.
•   Environmental geology- advising on the design and safety of potential sites for waste disposal and advising on contaminated land.
•   Geological mapping and surveying – studying and mapping the distribution of rocks exposed at the Earth’s surface to produce geological maps and databases.
•   Research - study ranging from pure academic geology to applied research directly relevant to industry.
•   Teaching - lecturing at universities on various aspects of geology or teaching geology in schools or colleges.
•   Volcanology and seismology - studying volcanoes, earthquakes and seismic waves, particularly with the aim or predicting volcanic and seismic events which may affect human population.
•   Palaeontology - studying fossil records in order to better understand the origins and development of life.


Things Geo Professional do:

•   Search for minerals in remote areas and use a range of skills to identify minerals deposits (gold, copper, iron, coal, oil, gas…)
•   Be involved in joint ventures; industry/university, industry/government, industry/industry, government/ govern-ment banks, investors...
•   Make comparisons between modern processes (eg. reefs, volcanoes, earthquakes...) and their ancient equivalents
•   Assist in the rehabilitation of contaminated land
•   Produce plans and maps using high tech electronic equipment
•   Evaluate today’s pollution problems
•   Interact with other disciplines (chemistry, engineering, technology, management, economists)
•   Travel throughout the world
•   Geoscientists follow paths of exploration and discovery in quest of solutions to some of society’s most challen-ging problems:
•   Predicting the behaviour of Earth systems and the universe.
•   Finding adequate supplies of natural resources, such as ground water, petroleum and metals.
•   Conserving soils and maintaining agricultural productivity.
•   Developing natural resources in ways that safeguard the environment.
•   Maintaining quality of water supplies.
•   Reducing human suffering and property loss from natural hazards, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, landslides, hurricanes, and tsunamis.
•   Determining geological controls on natural environments and habitats and predicting the impact of human activities on them.
•   Defining the balance between society’s demand for natural resources and the need to sustain healthy ecosystems.
•   Understanding global climate patterns.

Scopes as Geo Professionals

•   Geology graduates can seek careers with local authorities. Post graduate degree holders have better career opportunities. Apart from working in the below areas of joining the teaching profession as associate professor, assistant professor and head/professor in universities and colleges, Education Officers, Geologists and Researchers can develope programmes for media. Scholars of geology can also work as abovementioned area; they can also work independently as researchers. Some other fields are as under.:
•   Oil and gas companies
•   Water companies
•   Mining and quarrying companies
•   Civil engineering and construction companies
•   Consultancies and service companies that support exploration and production and advise on environmental issues
•   Local authorities
•   Geological Survey
•   National Environment Research Council bodies
•   Environmental protection bodies.

The author is Chief Librarian, Navodaya Vidyalaya, Mewat (Old Gurgaon) - 122108, Haryana                            e-mail:

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