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Featured Career: Exploration Geologist


Small boats floating in front of large ice berg

It’s the battle of the century and there you stand - on neutral ground. To your right, the heroic Captain Planet strives to heal our earth and save our planet. To your left, there stands Thanos - ready to end the reign of humanity with the snap of his fingers. So who’s side do you choose? Do you choose the side that gears more towards creating a new and better world -OR- is your focus on saving the world we have?

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Eighties baby or not, if you’re Team Captain Planet and want to find a way to make an unparalleled and cosmic effort to save the Earth, you may lean toward the side of progress.

Alternatively, if you’re Team Thanos and want to reshape the world to work within your own agenda, then you may lean more toward the side of profit.


The role of an Exploration Geologist falls right on the divided line of progress vs profit. Some geologists actively search for rock and mineral deposits only for purely economic gain, while others excavate for educational purposes and with the mission of saving our planet. No matter which side is chosen, the overall purpose is to find minable occurrences of construction materials, gems, pigments, metallic ores, and other minable commodities.


Many materials found on Earth, including gold, oil, gems, gas, and stones are collected, traded, and sold each day. But why are some materials mined more than others? To answer this question, you must first begin with extensive research in understanding why certain materials are so valuable and what types of processes are involved in excavating such precious natural resources. This complex, yet fundamental desire encompasses the inner drive needed to initiate a career in this profession.


Exploration geologists mostly work for organizations within the mineral mining sector. Many companies hire these positions to find highly valuable minerals that can be sold for profit or converted into an equity share within the mining companies’ operation. These organizations include geological surveyors, oil & gas companies, research contractors, government agencies, financial institutions, and environmental councils.


When exploring a career in geology, it is an absolute necessity for one to be a bit of an adventurer. Long days of drilling, digging, handling vital specimens, and sometimes hiking while carrying heavy equipment and rock samples may be required. Employment may also demand extended travel to multiple sites, sometimes having to live and work outdoors in severe climates and weather conditions. Most operational locations are in rural areas, forests, jungles, deserts, and the Arctic regions, including underground mines, open-pit mines, and processing plants.


Exploration geologists must also be able to communicate their work results clearly and effectively to provide a permanent record of their findings. They must keep in mind that others will use their data to make economic decisions that can affect a large population of the world. The ability to communicate clearly, both verbally and in writing, is essential!


The minimum qualification to become an exploration geologist is a Bachelor’s of Science degree in geology from an accredited university. The preferred education by many employers is usually an advanced degree in geology with a specialization in mineralogy, hydrogeology, petroleum geoscience, or economic geology. In some states and countries, a license is required to practice. The average annual salary can range between $67,000 to $130,000 depending on your level of knowledge and experience.


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