Geologist Kaimātai Aro Whenua

Geologists study the structure and history of the Earth and Earth processes. They also advise on natural hazards and the development and use of the Earth's land and resources.

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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.

Physical Requirements

Geologists need to be reasonably fit and healthy for fieldwork. Those working in underground mines should not be claustrophobic.

Personal Qualities

Geologists need to be:

  • patient and observant, and enjoy working outside
  • motivated and methodical
  • good at maths and able to solve problems
  • good at planning and organising
  • skilled communicators for writing reports and other publications.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include maths, physics, biology, chemistry, geography and English.

Geologists can earn around $55K-$75K per year per year.

Geologists may specialise in: 

  • engineering
  • environmental geology 
  • mining
  • volcanology (the study of volcanoes)
  • marine geology
  • paleontology. 

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