Geophysicist Job Description
A geophysicist is a scientist who studies the physics and physical processes of the earth. Geophysicists apply physical principles to the study of the earth’s surface, interior and atmosphere. They may also perform the geophysical study of other planets in our solar system.
A geophysicist should be curious, observant, methodical, analytical and adaptable, and have the ability and willingness to travel and perform field work. They should also have good knowledge of physics, mathematics, and geology to measure, examine and explore the physical properties of the earth.
Pursue a career in geophysics if you are good at physics and mathematics, and interested in the physical processes of the earth.
What does a Geophysicist do?
Geophysicists may do some or all of the following:
- plan, conduct, and interpret geophysical surveys to locate groundwater, petroleum resources or mineral deposits
- study the physical properties of mineral deposits
- study the earth’s electrical, magnetic, and gravitational forces
- study earthquake patterns, volcanic ashes, and ocean waves to predict their reoccurrence
- supervise the collection and processing of geophysical data
- plan and oversee the remediation of environmental problems
- use equipment such as magnetometers, gravimeters, and seismic recording systems
- prepare maps and write reports of the geophysical survey of an area
- teach at colleges and universities
Where does a Geophysicist work?
Geophysicists usually work normal office hours, but may sometimes work evenings and weekends during extensive research. They work in indoors in offices, classrooms and laboratories, and outdoors in the field. They may travel for field work and be away from home for a period of time.
What is Required to Become a Geophysicist?
To become a geophysicist, you will need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in geophysics or a related discipline.
The scope of geophysics includes Physics, Mathematics and Geology. Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Linear algebra
- Differential equations
- Probability and statistics
- Quantum mechanics
- Classical physics
- Environmental science
- Structural geography
A geophysicist can specialize to become any of the following:
- Seismologist – a scientist who studies earthquakes and seismic waves
- Oceanographer – a scientist who studies oceans
- Sedimentologist – a scientist who studies sedimentary rocks
- Hydrogeologist – a scientist who studies water movement through rocks
- Space plasma physicist – a scientist who specializes in the field of space plasma physics
- Mineral physicist – a scientist who studies the earth’s interior materials
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Geophysicists need to have:
- physical fitness
- accuracy and precision
- good memory
- good eyesight
- good attention to detail
- good listening and communication skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- observational skills
- practical skills for operating scientific equipment
- time-management and organizational skills
- math and computer skills
- the ability to work well under pressure and concentrate for long periods
- the ability to use scientific knowledge to solve problems
- the ability to work well independently and in a team
- knowledge of physics
- knowledge of the earth structure and processes
- knowledge of geophysical data analysis and methodology
- knowledge of geophysical equipments such as seismographs, gravimeters, and magnetometers
- knowledge of GIS and other mapping techniques
Should I be a Geophysicist?
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- Geological Technician
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