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Geologists may do some or all of the following

  • study the Earth's structure and processes such as the formation of soils, rocks and faults
  • collect, examine and analyse rocks, minerals and fossils
  • carry out geological research to locate oil, natural gas, water and minerals
  • monitor the geotechnical conditions of mine sites
  • survey the land and seabed to help prepare geological maps
  • draw maps using specialist computer software
  • give advice and write reports on land use, resource management and risk of natural hazards such as landslides
  • write up research results
  • teach at universities.

Geologists need to have

  • knowledge of the processes that shape the Earth, and the formation of rocks and fossils
  • the ability to identify and analyse geological samples and materials
  • research skills, and skill in analysing the results of their studies
  • practical skills for performing experiments and operating scientific equipment
  • problem-solving skills
  • planning and organisational skills
  • communication skills
  • writing skills, for writing reports and for publications
  • maths and computer skills.

Geologists working in mining need to know how a mine operates, how to extract the desired rock or mineral, and how to manage a drilling programme.


Geologists need to be

  • observant
  • practical
  • patient
  • motivated
  • methodical.

They must also have an eye for detail and enjoy working outside.