Geophysicists are highly educated scientists who apply their knowledge and studies of the earth and its atmosphere to solve problems. They study all physical aspects of our planet and investigate seismic, gravitational, electrical, thermal and magnetic forces that affect the earth. This information is then compiled and used to prepare navigational charts and maps. They are able to predict atmospheric conditions and put this information into environmental reports. Geophysicists study continental drifts, atmospheric pressure, earthquakes and sometimes other planets. They use their knowledge about physics, geology and atmospheric sciences to establish water supply and flood control programs. Studying specific aspects of geophysics can turn a geophysicist into a geomagetician, glaciologist, oceanographer, physical tectonophysicst or volcanologist.
People interested in this field of work must be aware that it is a very demanding position and it requires extended schooling. To begin with, a bachelor's degree in natural science should be obtained. They should complete a master's degree in geophysics or a related field, which may take two to three years. There are graduate programs in geosciences available that will have an emphasis on topics like geology or mineralogy. Some additional courses that should be considered are chemistry, physics, math, engineering and computer skills like GPS, data analysis, digital mapping and other forms of computer modeling. Architectural and engineering firms along with oil and gas companies usually hire geologists. Some common tools used by geologists are dynamite explosives, computers, maps, sonar and radar devices and basic lab equipment.
- Review and write contracts and specifications for geophysical work, including budgets and timelines.
- Create and verify seismic, AVO, and other types of models to assess feasibility, safety, and returns.
- Use software to create and interpret 2- and 3-dimensional geophysical data to identify and evaluate sites.
- Generate prospective locations, recommend coordinates, and document assumptions and calculations.