Prospects Of Geology As Career Choice

The scope of application of geology mainly depends on the nature of the assignment.

Geology is a subject that is concerned with the origin and operation of the earth, its features and the various events that have taken place since the first record of them in the rocks. This subject uses rocks and their disposition to understand the formation of the earth, its evolution through time and the various processes it has undergone.  

Geology is more of a multi-disciplinary science and not a fundamental science, as it uses the principles of physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics to study the earth. The study is both field and laboratory-based, although the findings are derived from field-based observations. It is essential that all geological concepts must eventually be tested in labs and be able to explain natural geological phenomena. 

By studying the history, composition and changes that occurred on the surface and within the earth, geologists can explain how geological events and earth processes are controlling the evolution of this planet. A geology class begins with rocks and minerals, macro and microscopic studies of samples which not only tell about the piece of rock /mineral but also the story of the earth itself. Geology is not limited to only the study of the origin of rocks and minerals, it also unravels the mystery of the ancient past. It also covers other interesting subjects like palaeontology which focuses on understanding the origin and evolution of many extinct flora and fauna. Geology also includes the study of various landforms including mountains, hills, valleys, plateaus, rivers, glaciers and also many activities that happen on the earth’s surface including landslides, volcanoes, earthquakes etc. 

A geologist’s work primarily includes project planning, field activity for collecting various data, processing of lab-based data and its interpretation to incorporate meaningful deductions in a comprehensive report that conclusively fulfils the objective of the project/assignment. The scope of application of geology mainly depends on the nature of the assignment.  

Academic avenues in geology

One can opt for ‘Geology’ in B Sc/B Sc Honours as one of the subjects which are taught in many universities/institutions across India. After graduation, M Sc in geology/Applied geology may be pursued with a wide range of institutions including IITs. The B Sc Physics students may also opt for M Sc/M Tech in Applied Geophysics. After Masters, one can opt for M Sc (Tech)/M.Tech/M Phil for specialisation in Engineering Geology, Mineral Exploration, Petroleum Exploration, Geo-environmental engineering etc. for which one must have a GATE score. The aspiring students can pursue higher education like Ph D, D Sc etc to join research or academic institutions as faculty members or researchers. GSI has been lobbying hard with the HRD ministry and CBSE/ICSE/ State Boards and Councils for the inclusion of Geology as a subject in the secondary and higher secondary syllabus (class-VIII to XII) in all the schools across the country. 

Few non-academic qualities required for the job 

  • Passion for the subject  

  • Ability to visualise 

  • Good scientific/technical skills 

  • An adventurous streak to be an explorer 

  • Physical fitness, self-reliance and resourcefulness 

  • Ability to interpret statistical and graphical information 

  • Attention to detail 

  • Report-writing skills 

Field trips

Fieldwork is one of the most integral parts of all degree programmes in geology. It may include the collection of geologic data, collection of rock/mineral samples, constructing a measured section, interpreting geologic structures/textures and geological mapping. 

Geology and the environment

Geologists have an important role in preserving the environment. Their activities include the study of surface/sub-surface water contamination and its causes, source, impact on human health, suggesting remedial measures; evaluating the risk from geologic hazards like earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes, Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) and tsunamis. The scope of the study also includes suggesting mitigation measures to engage in disaster management plans in a more efficient manner. 

Geology meets engineering

Geologists play an inevitable role in engineering projects. The meeting point of engineers and a geologist is in irrigation projects, thermal/hydel/nuclear power and communication projects like bridges, tunnels, roads etc. There is a wide application of geological principles in areas like Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental, Hydraulics, Structure and Transportation Engineering. Prior to any building construction, an engineer has to determine the properties of foundation soil or rock. To determine the stability of the structure, engineers work closely with geologists to identify the type of bedrock at building sites.  

Opportunities galore

A geologist can work in engineering and consulting firms, government agencies, mining companies, groundwater agency, petroleum companies, museums etc. They also can take up Civil Services Exam with geology as one of the options as it is known to be a scoring subject. The opportunity to freelance is also available for those interested.   

The organisations (National/International) that provide employment to geologists include: 

  • Geological Survey of India (GSI) 

  • Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) 

  • Directorate of Geology and Mining (DGM) 

  • Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) 

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) 

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) 

  • National Geophysical Institute (NGRI) 

  • Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun 

  • Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) 

  • Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) 

  • National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) 

  • National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) 

  • Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC) 

  • National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) 

  • State Mining Corporation (SMC) 

  • Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) 

  • National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) 

  • NALCO 

  • Hindustan Zinc Limited 

  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) 

  • Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) 

  • Mineral Exploration Authority Private sector companies 

The field of geology and related sciences is poised to grow phenomenally in the next few years. Those interested can look forward to a solid career.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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