April 3rd is World Geologist Day. A day for recognizing the incredible contributions that geologists have made to science. But what is geology, and what exactly do geologists do?
What is Geology?
In its simplest terms, geology is the study of the earth. This study includes the materials of which the earth is made and how those materials are formed. With an Earth over 4.5 billion years old, the ground is ever-changing. Geology studies how these changes process and the history of all the life that has ever walked across the Earth. Geology helps us every day in a variety of ways. Geology can help to predict patterns in our weather and help us identify natural disasters. Geologists help us understand these processes and how the world can utilize the earth's resources.
What do Geologists do?
Considering that Geology is the study of everything within the earth, there is quite a bit Geologists can do. They can be found working in various settings, including natural resource companies, environmental consulting, nonprofits, universities, and the government. Geologists can be found working directly in the field or in a classroom.
Some of the things Geologists Study are:
-Earth's History: Understanding historical geology can point directly to the future of Earth's geology.
-Earth’s Processes: Understanding Earth’s processes, such as weather patterns, volcanic eruptions, or earthquakes, can be incredibly important to people. Understanding where flood plains are and how to warn people of incoming extreme weather can be life-saving.
-Earth’s Materials: The materials created on the earth are essential to our everyday life; understanding how metals, oils, and other natural resources are produced is a crucial part of a geologist's study.
Because the field of geology encompasses the study of the entire earth, the possibilities of what a geologist may study are nearly endless.
Why do we celebrate Geologist Day?
The very first Geologist day was established by scientists in Soviet Russia in April 1966. In recognition of the accomplishments in geology, the day grew in popularity outside of the Soviet Union and is celebrated around the world today. It is believed that the day was chosen to be in early April as a nod to the beginning of Spring when geologists become more active in their fieldwork.
How to Become a Geologist
For students interested in studying geology, doing well in science and math, and writing will be critical to your future. Geologists need not just to understand scientific principles but be able to perform calculations and generate written reports. Most careers in geology require at least a bachelor’s degree, if not a graduate degree. Many universities offer programs in geology that will give students the foundational knowledge needed to launch a career in the field. The field of Geology is expected to grow over the next several years. Career opportunities are plentiful with issues like climate change and a shift towards renewable energy.
Are you looking to get an introduction to geology? Check out our Rocks and Minerals course. This
four-week flex course allows students to get a feel for understanding rocks and minerals at their own pace and explore the world of some of the materials that the earth creates.
You can also check out our Middle School Earth and Space Science class which covers a variety of topics related to rocks, minerals, soil, and Earth's systems!