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The School of Earth Sciences offers two major disciplines at the undergraduate level: Geology and Atmospheric Science/Oceanography.
Geology concerns the solid Earth, in particular the rocks and their constituent minerals and fossils. The geological record of rocks, formed over much of the Earth's 4500 million year history are the raw materials of geology. The study and interpretation of the geological record is of paramount importance in the search for natural resources like gold, coal, oil, groundwater and rock material used for construction work.
Atmospheric Science and Oceanography concerns the atmosphere and the Earth's surface, e.g., the oceans in that they affect the atmosphere. Understanding is sought of the basic mechanisms underlying the ever-changing problems of weather and climate and how human activities produce significant changes in these mechanisms, and thus in the patterns of weather and climate. Examples of applied oceanography are studying how commercial fishing may be influenced by ocean circulation and properties, coastal pollution and the impact of waves and currents along shorelines.
Geology and Atmospheric Science/Oceanography can be taken together or separately, with other appropriate subjects, preparing the graduate for a career in a wide range of fields.

Careers in Earth Sciences

A career in the Earth Sciences opens up a wide range of opportunities to graduates, in Australia and overseas. Geologists and geophysicists are the backbone of resource income earned in Australia. Employment sources include the mineral and petroleum industries or government agencies such as the CSIRO, Geological Surveys, Rural Water Commission and the Department of Natural Resources & Environment. Elsewhere, opportunities include site investigation for dams, tunnels, roads and railways, the development of underground water resources, studies of coastal processes and their impact, earthquake and landslide risk assessment, environment impact studies, teaching, and field and laboratory research programs.

Geologists work in all parts of Australia, from the temperate zones to the deserts, the tropics and to oceans beyond our coastline. Many Australian geologists work overseas, including Antarctica, Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region. There are also opportunities to work in a head office or mine site environment, or with computers, electron microscopes and other high-tech equipment in laboratories. Geology students generally obtain work experience during university vacation periods, helping to ease the transition from study to the work force.

Atmospheric Scientists/Oceanographers can work in the fastest growing area in the Earth Sciences: climate. Students with a science degree that includes an atmosphere component, and in particular, those students who have completed Honours or a higher degree in atmospheric science/oceanography, are in demand for a variety of careers, both in private industry (eg: mining companies) and in Government agencies such as CSIRO, the EPA or the Bureau of Meteorology. Such students can look forward to working in important and challenging fields, as people strive to come to terms with the opportunities and problems associated with our atmospheric and marine environment.

As their careers develop, graduates in Earth Sciences can gain employment in other disciplines where their knowledge of the Earth, its processes and resources is important. Graduates can be found in stockbroking, investment analysis, information technology management, government administration, and private and government environmental groups.

Some Specific Careers

Exploration Geologist:
Finds and evaluate new deposits such as gold or platinum, or energy sources such as coal or petroleum, using geological techniques,information from field studies, geophysical surveys and remote sensing.
Mine Geologist
Investigates the nature of existing deposits using similar techniques, and works closely with other specialists like mining engineers and geophysicists to determine the most effective way to extract resources in the mining operation.
Investigates the location and movement of water beneath the ground surface using geological techniques. Investigates contaminated sites and salinity. Advise farmers, planners and other authorities on the best way to manage and develop groundwater resources.
Atmospheric Scientist/Oceanographer
Studies weather, climate and the oceans using complex modern tools such as radar and satellites, in combination with computer modelling.
Environmental Geologist
Assesses the effects of mining, farming and other activities on the environment and advises on the rehabilitation of damaged areas. Works on hazard prediction and management.
Applied Geophysicist
Uses sophisticated technology to measure and interpret the Earth's physical properties and makes specialist contributions to many applied geology studies.
Science Teacher
Educates students in geology, environmental science, geography and general science

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