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16 October 2014

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Geologists carry out surveys to obtain information. For instance, they may take rock samples for analysis, drill core samples or carry out seismic surveys to measure earthquakes and earth tremors.

There are specialisms within geology. These include:

  • The oil and gas industry, analysing samples and advising on likely drilling spots
  • The mine and quarrying industry, giving advice on production techniques and the location of ores or other mineral deposits
  • The water industry, where hydrogeologists study underground water deposits and the effects of mining and pollution on underground water tables
  • Engineering geologists conduct surveys on ground conditions as they affect the construction of buildings, roads and so on

One growth area is the environment; geologists advise on erosion, contaminated land and suitable sites for waste disposal.

Entry for this profession is with a first degree in a relevant geoscience. The minimum entry requirements for degree courses are five GCSEs with two A-levels or equivalent qualifications such as a vocational A-level in science.

Preferred subjects are physics, chemistry, biology or a maths subject. Geology is not essential but may be preferred. Geography may also be useful.

Geological technicians carry out routine tasks to support the work of geologists. They may analyse samples of rock or mineral in a laboratory, prepare samples or carry out simple tests. Some of these tests analyse the geochemical composition of samples, or look for rock porosity - how they hold oil, water or gas.

Entry may be with a good general education. Many labs, however, would prefer a minimum of four GCSEs including science or an equivalent qualification, and some insist on at least one science A-level.

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