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Department of Geoscience

Earth Science 118
2500 University Dr. NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
T. 403.220.5184
F. 403.284-0074

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What Geoscientists Study

What do Geoscientists Study?

  • Paleontologists study fossils and evolution of animals and plants throughout geologic time.
  • Geochemists study chemical variations in the earth and the interactions of fluids with the rocks in which they are found and through which they pass.
  • Petrologists and mineralogists study the composition, texture and genesis of rocks, including those that contain ore deposits.
  • Stratigraphers and sedimentologists study layered rocks to determine the history and appearance of ancient landscapes containing petroleum, gas and coal resources.
  • Structural geologists study the way rocks are deformed and how this controls the distribution of mineral and energy resources and the movement of ground water.
  • Geophysicists use numerous methods to probe beneath the Earth's surface, to study the interior of the Earth and the physical conditions and processes occurring below the surface.
  • Seismologists use natural (earthquake) and artificial shock waves to probe beneath the surface of the Earth, searching for hydrocarbon reservoirs and determining the deep structure of the Earth's interior.
  • Environmental geologists, geophysicists and hydrogeologists combine skills in geology and geophysics with knowledge of the movement and interactions of fluids on and near the Earth's surface to evaluate water supplies, pollutant transport, control, and containment, and for contaminated site remediation.
  • Surficial and glacial geologists study current and Ice Age processes operating at the Earth's surface and the applilcation to engineering and land use considerations.
  • Petroleum geologists study the location of oil and natural gas reserves using sedimentology, stratigraphy, structual geology and geophysical techniques.

Careers in Geoscience

Geoscientists work both indoors in modern offices and laboratories, and outdoors in the field:

  • Searching for oil, natural gas, water and mineral resources and evaluating, developing and managing discovered deposits, with energy, hydrology, and mining companies
  • Working with engineering companies or consulting on such projects as dams, foundations, tunnels, highways, urban planning, waste disposal, site remediation, ground water movement, pollutant transport, environmental impact assessment, and other environmental studies
  • Conducting research with geological and geophysical surveys and/or government agencies such as the Geological Survey of Canada or Alberta Research Council
  • Teaching geoscience at a school, college or university.

Professionals working as geologists and geophysicists in Alberta must be registered with the Association of Professional Engineers, Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA). Other provinces and jurisdictions have similar regulations.