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Author Topic: How do you know what specific field in Geology you should specialize?  (Read 13998 times)

Offline olivine

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Hi, I'm new here. I'm 22 yrs. old and currently on my 2nd year as a Geology graduate student. I took up BS Chemistry as my undergraduate course so I can say that I'm still "new" in the field of Geology. As of the present, I currently work as a research assistant in the Micropaleontology Laboratory here in the University. But then, I can say that I got this job because I needed the salary for my study. Right now, I am having doubts as to pursuing a career in the field of Micropaleontology since I can say that I study it because it's my work and not because it's my interest. I know that there are lots of other interesting fields in geology. But since I do not have much experience in other fields, I don't know which one should I choose. I should start my thesis soon and choosing a field of interest is of great importance. So I was wondering how did you end up with your current field in geology? Was it by chance or was it what you wanted ever since? I'd really like to hear your stories and hopefully it would help me figure out my interest. I will also very much appreciate your advices regarding my dilemma. Thanks in advance! :)


 

Offline JimBob

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Welcome Oiivne !!!

I sympathize with you. I could never be a bug picker. I used a cheap binocular microscope to pick what we thought at the time were multituberculate (an extinct early mammal) teeth out of river sand from the interior of Australia. I did that every day for 8 hours all week long. I have work bifocal glasses ever since.

Why did you change to geology from chemistry? What was it about geology that got your attention? Is there a lab associated with a class you have taken that was more interesting than another? What courses did you enjoy the most?

Also - where do you want to use your knowledge? Academia, business (hedge fund analysts,) applied geology - and how important is money to you? Is it more important than being happy?

I ended up as a petroleum geologist as a result of health factors. I wanted to become a field mapping structural geologist. I wanted to solve the big puzzles on a grand scale.

But the onset of arthritis at 21 left me with few choices and I ended up in the oil business. Once there I found an area that offered at least the same level of problem solving that structural geology. And there were just as many variables to be considered, in fact, probably more. I specialized as a reservoir geologist, a person involved in extracting the most resources from a reservoir as possible. This field has fallen out of favor in the oil biz as the main push in the last 32 years has been to get as much out of the ground as quickly as possible to meet demand. It started originally due to the Arab oil embargo. Now it is because the reserves are dwindling so fast you need to produce enough to meet demand.

And do NOT believe T. Boone Pickens. America (nor the world) does not have that much natural gas in shales. Oh it is there alright but getting it out is hugely more difficult than Picken's hedge fund plan makes it out to be. Before he turned hedge fund manager, he made a lot of sense. When he formed the hedge fund, it was "get the natural gas and then we will work on other ways." - NEVER heard all of the complete plan. Shows how much of a plan he had - make a HUGE load of money before he dies. End of story.

See this - it came out Monday - http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?hpf=1&a_id=106972

Sorry. My white horse materialized in front of me.

Ask more questions after thinking about these. I don't plan on going any place and there are other geologist here as well.

Again, glad you are here.

« Last Edit: 12/05/2011 04:24:27 by JimBob »
 

Offline olivine

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Hi JimBob!

Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate your reply  ;D

Well, I decided to study geology because I was looking for an applied science wherein I could be able to work with tangible things. I was having a hard time dealing with how the chemicals react and stuff. And so I thought, geology is an applied science wherein I can even experience the great outdoors. Not to mention how important geology is whether in geohazards, petroleum geology, structural etc.. Unfortunately, I still don't have a strong interest in one specific field. Although I considered petroleum geology (but then there are few petroleum geologists here in the Philippines). Other fields that I've considered include Environmental geochemistry, Marine Geology and Hydrogeology.

I guess I need more time to weigh things for myself but I am deeply thankful for your response. The questions are really helpful in order for me to come up with a decision.

It's nice to hear that you were able to find the field that fulfills you. Receiving an advice from a professional geologist is an honor for me. :) Thank you really and nice to meet you! :)
 

Offline JimBob

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This is a reply from Bass - for some reason he couldn't post it. So I am going to give it a try. There is a black listed word in here somewhere so I am going to post it in parts. from here on is the reply Bass has sent to you Olivine.
________________________________

Problem fixed

________________________________



Welcome to the forum!

Sounds like your path to graduate school was somewhat similar to my own. As an undergrad, I started in physics, then got my degree in economics.  Didn't take my first geology class until my junior year, but then I was hooked.

I took several classes before I discovered economic geology (which has nothing at all to do with economics) and igneous petrology.  I've always enjoyed working outdoors, and putting together bits of information to create an interesting story.  Now, with almost 40 years in mineral exploration, I can say I've enjoyed ever day (even if some years were a bit lean on salary).

What classes interest you most? If chemistry is your thing, perhaps geochemistry, or environmental geology, or hydrology? Do you like fieldwork? labwork?

Actually, my choice of geology as a career was predicated on being able to color inside the lines with crayons and a love for good beer in seedy bars.


BASS


_________________
« Last Edit: 14/05/2011 01:32:15 by JimBob »
 

Offline JimBob

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Well, That is all that will post. (Since amended)

Olivine I am sending you a private message with the whole thing from Bass. Perhaps that will go through. - if it doesn't- I will email it to you.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

JB
« Last Edit: 14/05/2011 01:33:12 by JimBob »
 

Offline Bass

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Thanks JimBob

Didn't know I was so offensive? [B)]

is it my deodorant?
 

Offline olivine

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Hi Jimbob,

I got your email. Thanks! :)

Bass,

Nice meet you! :) I will read your email and reply here in a while. :)
 

Offline olivine

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"Welcome to the forum!

Sounds like your path to graduate school was somewhat similar to my own. As an undergrad, I started in physics, then got my degree in economics. Didn't take my first geology class until my junior year, but then I was hooked.

I took several classes before I discovered economic geology (which has nothing at all to do with economics) and igneous petrology. I've always enjoyed working outdoors, and putting together bits of information to create an interesting story. Now, with almost 40 years in mineral exploration, I can say I've enjoyed ever day (even if some years were a bit lean on salary).

What classes interest you most? If chemistry is your thing, perhaps geochemistry, or environmental geology, or hydrology? Do you like fieldwork? labwork?

Actually, my choice of geology as a career was predicated "

----

Thanks Bass, here's the message I received. I'm not sure though if there's something missing in the message.
Wow, mineral exploration! I bet you've been to lots and lots of fieldwork.. Yes, I'm considering geochemistry, environmental geology and hydrogeology like what I've mentioned above.. :)I love fieldworks and labworks as well so I guess a balance between the two would definitely be great.

If I want to be practical and earn the most, what field would you guys suggest? I have to admit that as of now money is a factor but then being happy with what I do is still more important. :)

Thanks in advance guys!
 

Offline JimBob

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Thanks JimBob

Didn't know I was so offensive? [B)]

is it my deodorant?

Bass, I hate to tell you this but it goes much deeper.


 

Offline frethack

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Heya olivine, welcome to the forum!

A good background in chemistry will be very helpful in most geoscience fields.  I started out loving paleontology as a kid, went through various paths before attending college, and settled on geology as my major.  Im like you in that I currently work in the paleomag lab, but really only do it for money.  My real love and area of research is in the atmospheric sciences, which requires a great deal of chemistry and physics.  This probably means that I am a bit of a substandard geologist (I cant even read seismic), but Im okay with that.

I suggest talking to as many potential advisors as possible and get an idea of what research in their field involves.  The one that interests you most should be the one that you pick.  For a good salary, petroleum geology and hydrogeology are good paths, as well as environmental geology.  Paleoclimatologists and oceanographers use micropaleontologists quite a bit to get a first order impression of the age of sediment cores through the microbiology they contain, but I am unsure of their salary.  Pretty interesting stuff.



 

Offline JimBob

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This probably means that I am a bit of a substandard geologist (I cant even read seismic), but Im okay with that.

Forget Seismic - He can't even read a MAP!!!! Dead serious on this.

A micropaleontologist working for an oil company on an offshore rig telling the drilling people and  well site geologists where that ere in the geologic section can make good money. If they are both the paleo and the well site geologist i ti is very grueling work.

Research micropaleontologist need to have another reason as well for doing the work as it doesn't pay that well otherwise. IT needs to pay in satisfaction as well.
 

Offline frethack

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Forget Seismic - He can't even read a MAP!!!! Dead serious on this.

JimBob is as senile as he is boorish (hard to believe, but its true).  He forgets that I am actually a competent field geologist and cartographer, and I have the A's in my field geology courses to prove it.  Just because I didnt chisel my maps into stone tablets and suffer through mapping without the use of GIS doesnt mean I cant read a map...it only means that I was lucky enough to have been born in the very late Holocene.

 

Offline imatfaal

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Come on guys stop arguing and be gneiss to each other. 

Sorry... but that's the only geologist joke I know and I couldn't resist the opportunity post it.
 

Offline JimBob

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Come on guys stop arguing and be gneiss to each other. 

Sorry... but that's the only geologist joke I know and I couldn't resist the opportunity post it.

No need to apologize - this is what makes it fun. And he admits he couldn't do the mapping job without a bevy of satellites doing the work for him. And he couldn't have gotten THAT far without the old first-generation GPS unit I gave him.

Now THAT'S gratitude for you!



 

Offline Geoquest

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Come on guys stop arguing and be gneiss to each other. 

Sorry... but that's the only geologist joke I know and I couldn't resist the opportunity post it.

It's cool...the only geologist joke I knew about involved cleavage and that one always gets me in trouble.
 

Offline JimBob

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Oh there are many more and the female geologist have them card-indexed or in a database on their Android.
 

Offline Geezer

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Come on guys stop arguing and be gneiss to each other. 

Sorry... but that's the only geologist joke I know and I couldn't resist the opportunity post it.

Watch out Matt. JimBob might go all sedimental on us and start playing one the LPs from his Mantovani collection.
 

Offline JimBob

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You have me all wrong Geez - that may have been the thing when you were out trolling the streets - these days it is the two "B's"  - Barry White & Barry Manilow
 

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