Geologists: A Glimpse Into Scientific Careers
The role of geologists depends upon locations. In modern-day, developed countries, geologists generally prospect for gas, oil and coal. These materials are used in today’s construction processes. In underdeveloped countries, geologists focus on protecting the environment, helping to prevent further destruction from centuries’ past mineral extractions that left lands barren and useless. Geologists also focus on geotechnical work, helping make sure that today’s buildings are properly built, foundations are safe and roadways can accommodate necessary traffic. Many countries also employ geologists to conduct Geological Surveys.
Geoscientists help explore gas and oil deposits, as they understand where to look for reserve resources. With gas and oil providing more than 50-percent of the fuel supplies, major gas and oil companies are employing geoscientists to help tap into new oil reserves.
In order for gas and oil to be located in underground reserves, there are several geologic references that geoscientists must thoroughly analyze.
- Source Rock – Source rock must be present, as most oil deposits develop from mudstones in ancient bodies of water. With high rates of organic materials, generally associated with dead plankton and microscopic plants, these large mud deposits can contain natural gas and oil.
- Heat – The source rock must have been exposed to high heat levels, as this allows organic materials to break down, ultimately releasing gas and oil and exposing hydrocarbons.
- Reservoir Rock – This type of rock is porous and also permeable, which means that liquids can flow through the rock. Within these tiny porous spaces, oil and gas deposits collect.
- Cap Rock – A cap rock must be present with the reservoir rock, as this helps ensure that hydrocarbons are sealed. Often made of clay, cap rocks can also be clay seals along a fault or even salt deposits.
- Trap – With all of the aforementioned items, the rocks must come together to form a trap. This helps to seal in gas and oil.
When drilling exploration wells, geologists analyze rock and dirt fragments, determining if areas are ripe for oil or gas exploration or newly drilled wells are dry and worthless. Geologists make the decisions about where to drill, when wells should be abandoned and also what areas are mature for successful hydrocarbon prospecting.
Geologists are also responsible for conducting heavy mineral surveys, which help locate gold deposits. Often, this type of prospecting involves analyzing stream and soil sediments. While geological work fluctuates with natural resource demands, the need for geologists in the future is critical for mine exploration.
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