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Home Student & Career Tips 11 Things You Can Do With a Geophysics Degree

11 Things You Can Do With a Geophysics Degree

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This article contains 11 things or careers you can go into with a geophysics degree.

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Geophysics is the study of the earth by quantitative physical methods, especially through electromagnetic, seismic and radioactivity processes. Going by the name, it involves the application of physical theories and measurements to discover earth’s properties

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Geophysics is the term used to describe the study of the Earth’s surface, core, geological levels and anything that has an  impact on the planet such as electric, magnetic forces and gravity. Geophysics is applied to societal needs, such as mitigation of natural hazards,  mineral resources, and environmental protection.

11 Things You Can Do With a Geophysics Degree

Branches Of Geophysics

There are numerous branches of Geophysics. This offers individuals with a degree in this field a wide array of choices to make, career wise.These branches include:

  • Biogeophysics: This branch involves the study of how plants, microbial activities and other organisms alter geologic materials.
  • Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: This is the study of naturally occurring large-scale flows on Earth as well as other planets.
  • Exploration Geophysics: This entails the use of surface methods to detect concentrations of ore minerals and hydrocarbons.
  • Geodesy: This branch deals with the measurement and representation of the earth which includes its gravitational field.
  • Geomagnetism/Paleomagnetism: This branch studies the magnetic field of the earth as well as its origin, currents driven by the magnetic field and the interaction between the magnetosphere and the solar wind.
  • Geodynamics: This involves the study of modes of transport deformation within the earth such as, rock deformation, heat flow, mantle convection,etc.
  • Mathematical Geophysics: This involves the development and applications of mathematical techniques to solve geophysical problems.
  • Mineral Physics: This is the study of materials that compose the interior of planets especially earth.
  • Seismology: This branch involves the study of composition and structure of the earth and also stifies the deformations of earth’s surface during seismic hazards and earthquakes.
  • Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: This branch of Geophysics involves the study of naturally occurring flows on earth as well as on other planets.

Nature Of Job

The nature of the job of a Geophysicist varies according to the area of employment. Some are required to work in the office while others are required to work on site. Thus, dress code depends on whether you work in an office or on site. However, site work will involve being away from home and travelling overseas to work. This involves a high level of responsibility depending on whether you work in exploration, laboratories and academia.

However, geophysicists are generally involved in undertaking seismic exploration and producing controlled source seismic data for oil and gas companies or consultancies. Some of the work are most likely offshore based.

Some geophysicists may be involved in providing environmental consultancy, for example the investigation of landfill sites using geophysical techniques, or may work within a research institute to investigate seismological structures and provide seismological information to the public and government.

Possible Employer of a Geophysicist

  • A greater proportion of geophysicists are employed by oil and gas companies in their exploration divisions.
  • Others work is increasingly contracted out, so consulting firms are also common employers for those on contract works. Consultancy firms vary in size, from very small companies to large multinationals. Some consulting firms are quite specialised while others offer a more diverse range of services to their customers.
  • Environmental consultancy is a fast growing area of employment, as many landfill site owners require geophysicists to help them ensure compliance with strict requirements related to the  operation, construction and closure of landfill sites.
  • Extraction of gas from landfill sites is likely to become another area of employment in the future.
  • Also, exploration companies are likely to undertake work for construction firms, water companies, mining companies and environmental agencies, so geophysicists may be employed in any of these settings.

Other employers include:

  • Government bodies and agencies
  • Universities and research institutes.
  • While many geophysicists work for oil and gas companies, there are opportunities in construction, mining, water companies and environmental agencies

Responsibilities of a Geophysicist

As a result of the the existence of numerous branches of Geophysics, Geophysicists are are faced with many responsibilities. As a geophysicist, you may be required to do any of the following:

  • Pre-plan projects before going to site
  • Use of computers for data management, quality control and communication between the office and field locations
  • Design data acquisition plans
  • Determine the data-processing techniques
  • Take equipment out to various locations around the world and deploy seismometers
  • Observe the reaction of recording equipment to detect irregularities
  • Measures reservoir volumes, assess potential oil and gas yield
  • Design, test, modify and repair seismic equipment
  • adapt data collection procedures
  • Work closely with a small team of scientists and other staff who may be away in the field or offshore
  • Write documentation and work logs
  • provide a range of geophysical support and technical advice and guidance

Skills

As a Geophysicist, you’ll need to show:

  • Good IT skills to process data and produce three-dimensional models of geophysical features
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Numerical skills
  • Project management skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Attention to detail and the ability to record
  • the ability to express ideas and findings clearly,
  • Good communication skills
  • Team working skills
  • Desire and ability to travel both far and near, etc.

As one who has a degree in Geophysics, below are some of the things you can do with the degree.

  • Exploration Geophysics
  • Geodesy
  • Atmospheric physics
  • Seismology
  • Geomagnetism
  • Paleomagnetism
  • Marine Geophysics
  • Meteorology
  • Oceanography
  • Environmental Geophysics
  • Teaching
  • Writing
1.  EXPLORATION GEOPHYSICS

It is the applied branch of geophysics which uses surface methods to measure the physical properties of the subsurface of the earth in order to detect  the presence and position of ore, minerals, hydrocarbons, groundwater reservoirs, and other geological structures.

Exploration geophysics is a highly recognized field in terms of mineral prospecting, mapping and acquiring a comprehensive understanding of the geoscience of specific terrain. Exploration geophysicists work together with geologists,, petroleum engineers, mining engineers and other professionals, and may be responsible for the supervision of a team of other professionals and technologists. Experts in this field are required to spend a considerable period of time in the field, mostly in remote areas.

2.  SEISMOLOGY

This is the scientific study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the earth or through other planets.

Seismologists study earthquakes and related phenomena, such as tsunamis. They use seismographs and other instruments to collect data on these events.

This field has different areas of specialty including Marine Seismology, Volcano Seismology, Earthquake seismology.

Marine seismology  involves making observations  at sea. Because oceans cover most of the plate boundaries, earthquakes occur mostly beneath the sea floor. This provides a strong incentive to observe and study earthquakes at sea near the sources.

Volcano seismology is a field of volcanology in which seismological techniques are employed to help understand the physical conditions and dynamic states of volcanic systems.

With a degree in Geophysics, this is one career you can excel in.

3.  GEODESY

It is a branch of earth science that deals with the study of earth. Geodesists study everything relating to earth such as:

  • Shape: This is one aspect of the earth geodesists study. It studies the shape of the earth in both general and specific terms. Generally, the earth is known to be spherical in shape but in other terms, mountains and valleys make it look otherwise.
  • Orientation: It also studies the relative position of key features of the earth like the magnetic poles, in relation to other things in the galaxy and solar system.
  • Gravity Field: The effects of gravity as we move away from the surface, whether it is constant over the entire surface, and other factors is also part of what geodesists study. Geodesy focuses on taking measurements of these aspects and also tracking this information over time.

Importance of geodesy

The information gathered by geodesists has a number of uses. Some of them include:

  • Map Shorelines: Geodesy can help determine the physical boundary between a land mass and the water it meets. This can be difficult with water levels rising and falling.
  • Determine Land Boundaries: This comes into play at different levels. To determine boundaries between countries and states and at another level to determine the property lines for different homes.
  • Improve Transportation: Geodesy contributes to route determination, traffic patterns.
4.  ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS

It is the application of physics to the study of the atmosphere. In other words, it is the study of the atmosphere in terms of its physical properties and dynamics. Geophysicists are the ones who investigate the earth’s magnetic and electric fields, and compare its outer atmosphere with those of other planets.

5.  MARINE GEOPHYSICS

It is a scientific discipline that is concerned with the application of geophysical methods to problems of marine geology. Marine geophysics is associated with the concepts and problems of seafloor spreading, continental drift, and plate tectonics.

6.  ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS

A branch of earth science where Geophysical techniques may be used to monitor environmental impact of such things like water contaminants by creating maps of the subsurface and investigating groundwater movement.

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The duties of  an environmental geophysicist vary significantly but below are lists of typical duties of an environmental geophysicist:

  • Plan, conduct, and interpret geophysical surveys for environmental exploration and studies.
  • Use various techniques such as seismic reflection and refraction, electromagnetic sounding, radioactivity, and magnetic surveying, to search for buried objects, fractures, and contaminants.
  • Use mathematical and data processing methodologies to produce an interpret-able image of the subsurface.
  • Develop mathematical models and computer programs to interpret geophysical survey results.
  • Study geophysical data to determine the type, shape, and location of underground rock structures and the depth and quality of water.
  • Supervise the collection and processing of geophysical data.
  • Determine the source and level of pollutants.
  • Prepare reports and scientific papers to present survey results.
7.  GEOMAGNETISM

It is the study of the earth’s magnetic field, including its origin, telluric currents driven by the magnetic field and the interaction of the magnetic field with the solar wind. Geomagnetists work to discover the origins of the planet through the study of magnetic fields.

8. PALEOMAGNETISM

It is the study of the record of the earth’s magnetic field preserved in various magnetic minerals through time.

Paleomagnetists take measurements from rocks,  soft sediment, fossils and archaeological remains in order to calculate their age. This may seem like a small niche area with little practical use, but its applications are immense and is expected to have more use in the coming years as geomagnetism overall understands more of our world.

Paleomagnetists take recordings from sedimentary rocks, old lava flows, from organic and inorganic inclusions in these sediments and rock flows, and in archaeological finds.01 is taken. It has potential applications for ocean geology, atmospheric sciences, anthropology and all the geosciences.

Paleomagnetists share some of the same job duties as other Geophysicists and geologists with a few differences. An entry level paleomagnetist is mostly responsible for:

  • Planning and carrying out field studies, in which they visit to collect samples and conduct surveys
  • Maintaining magnetization and demagnetization equipment including magnetometers
  • Conducting paleomagnetic measurements and laboratory tests on samples collected in the field
  • Preparing samples for paleomagnetic analysis
  • Developing geological maps and charts
  • Ensure laboratory is fully supplied and in working order

More experienced paleomagnetist’s job roles include:

  • Supervising and supporting research team
  • Coordinating work with other scientists, including, anthropologists, and paleoecologists both in the field and in the lab
  • Compiling findings and presenting them as part of a scientific report.
  • Developing and implementing research projects
  • Reviewing reports and research carried out by other scientists.
9.  METEOROLOGY

It is the study of earth’s atmosphere as well as the atmospheric conditions. Meteorology also deals with weather forecasting through the application of physical and mathematical principles to atmospheric conditions. Meteorologists can find opportunities in meteorological departments, military, consulting meteorology businesses and educational institutes.

As a meteorologist, you’ll predict the weather and study the causes of particular weather conditions using information obtained from the land, sea and upper atmosphere.

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You’ll need to use computerised and mathematical models to make short and long-range forecasts concerning weather and climate patterns. A variety of organisations that use meteorological forecasts for their day to day activities includes:

  • Agricultural industry
  • The aviation industry
  • Government services
  • Health services
  • Insurance companies
  • Sailing organisations and offshore companies
  • The armed forces
  • the media
  • the shipping and sea fishing industries.
  • In addition to forecasting, you may also study the impact of weather on the environment and conduct research into weather patterns, climate change and models of weather prediction.
Responsibilities

Your work as a meteorologist falls basically into two main categories, which are forecasting and research.

In weather forecasting, you’ll be required to:

  • Collect data from satellite images, radar, remote sensors and weather stations all over the world
  • Measure factors such as air pressure, temperature and humidity at various atmospheric levels
  • Analyse and present this information to customers in the form of weather briefings
  • Prepare weather reports for transmission over international networks
  • Liaise with colleagues and clients from around the country and worldwide.

In research, you’ll required to:

  • Investigate subjects such as airflow in the lowest kilometre of the atmosphere, the physics of clouds and precipitation, or global climate change
  • Develop and improve numerical and computer models to predict atmospheric processes and
  • Improve the accuracy of forecasts
  • monitor climate variability and change
  • Research seasonal forecasting, ocean forecasting and climate prediction
  • Apply the results of research in order, for example, to give flood warnings or estimate the likely effects of global warming.

Skills

  • Good problem-solving ability
  • Ability to write scientific reports
  • Mathematical and computing ability
  • attention to detail and accuracy
  • Team-orientated approach to work
  • Interest in meteorology and the environment.
10.  OCEANOGRAPHY

This is the scientific study of the oceans which cover about seventy percent of the earth’s surface. It includes ocean’s physical properties, exploration and oceanic mapping.

Oceanographers are involved in a wide range of duties. Oceanography covers a wide range of topics, including marine life and ecosystems, and the chemical and physical properties of the ocean, ocean circulation, and the geology of the seafloor,

With a degree in geophysics, you have a wide range of specialty to opt for in this field.  They include;

Biological Oceanography: Biological oceanographers and marine biologists study plants and animals in the marine environment. They are interested in the numbers of marine organisms and how these organisms develop, relate to one another, adapt to their environment, and interact with it.

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Chemical Oceanography: Chemical oceanographers and marine chemists study the composition of seawater, its processes and cycles, and the chemical interaction of seawater with the atmosphere and seafloor.

Geological Oceanography: Geological oceanographers and marine geologists explore the ocean floor and the processes that form its mountains and valleys.

Physical Oceanography: Physical oceanographers study the physical conditions and physical processes within the ocean such as currents, waves, tides, the transport of sand on and off beaches and the interactions of the atmosphere and the ocean.

11.  TEACHING

As a geophysics degree holder who has interest in transferring knowledge to others, you can also go into the teaching profession. There are numerous Institutions in need of lecturers and professors with a major in geophysics. However, you may be required to get higher qualifications in the field in order to advance and occupy higher positions.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, having a degree in geophysics is an advantage which leaves you with an avalanche of career choices to make. Thinking of what to do with your degree?  Think of the options in this article and even more.

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