Geoscientists and oceanographers

National Occupation Code (NOC): 2113

Geoscientists include geologists, geochemists and geophysicists who conduct programs of exploration and research to extend knowledge of the structure, composition and processes of the earth, to locate, identify and extract hydrocarbon, mineral and groundwater resources and to assess and mitigate the effects of development and waste disposal projects on the environment. Oceanographers conduct programs of exploration and research on ocean processes and phenomena, biological, chemical and physical characteristics of oceans, interactions with atmospheric and geological environments and impacts of human activity on oceans and marine ecosystems. Geoscientists are employed by petroleum and mining companies, consulting geology, geophysics and engineering firms and by governments and educational institutions, or they may be self-employed. Oceanographers are employed by governments, educational institutions and private companies engaged in exploration of seafloor deposits and seafarming areas, or they may be self-employed.

Job Duties for Geoscientists and oceanographers

  • Conduct theoretical and applied research to extend knowledge of surface and subsurface features of the earth, its history and the operation of physical, chemical and biological systems that control its evolution
  • Plan, direct and participate in geological, geochemical and geophysical field studies, drilling and geological testing programs
  • Plan and conduct seismic, geodetic, electromagnetic, magnetic, gravimetric, radiometric, radar and other remote sensing programs
  • Plan, direct and participate in analyses of geological, geochemical and geophysical survey data, well logs and other test results, maps, notes and cross sections
  • Develop models and applied software for the analysis and interpretation of data
  • Plan and conduct analytical studies of core samples, drill cuttings and rock samples to identify chemical, mineral, hydrocarbon and biological composition and to assess depositional environments and geological age
  • Assess the size, orientation and composition of mineral ore bodies and hydrocarbon deposits
  • Identify deposits of construction materials and determine their characteristics and suitability for use as concrete aggregates, road fill or for other applications
  • Conduct geological and geophysical studies for regional development and advise in areas such as site selection, waste management and restoration of contaminated sites
  • Recommend the acquisition of lands, exploration and mapping programs and mine development
  • Identify and advise on anticipated natural risks such as slope erosion, landslides, soil instability, subsidence, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions
  • May supervise and co-ordinate well drilling, completion and work-overs and mining activities.
  • Conduct theoretical and applied oceanographic research programs and expeditions to extend knowledge of the physical, chemical and biological properties and functioning of oceans
  • Plan, direct and participate in sampling and analysis of seawater, plankton, fish, sediments and rocks
  • Study physical properties of oceans to develop models, charts and computer simulations of ocean conditions, such as tides, waves, currents and sediment transport
  • Explore ocean floor and submarine geological structures, conduct seismic surveys and study formation of ocean basins and other structures to map ocean floor, coastal erosion, sediment accumulation and areas for offshore oil and gas exploration
  • Plan and conduct investigations on ocean chemical properties and processes, ocean floor and marine atmosphere and undersea volcanoes to study impacts of environmental changes
  • Study marine life and interaction with physical and chemical environments to assess impacts of pollutants on marine ecology and to develop ecologically-based methods of seafarming.
Geologists may specialize in fields such as coal geology, environmental geology, geochronology, hydrogeology, mineral deposits or mining, petroleum geology, stratigraphy, tectonics, volcanology or in other fields. Geochemists may specialize in analytical geochemistry, hydrogeochemistry, mineral or petroleum geochemistry or in other fields. Geophysicists may specialize in areas, such as petroleum geology, earth physics, geodesy, geoelectromagnetism, seismology or in other fields. Oceanographers may specialize in biological, chemical, geological or physical oceanography, or in other fields related to the study of oceans.

Working Conditions for Geoscientists and oceanographers

Geoscientists spend time both in an office and outdoors conducting field work. Field work locations also vary depending on the specialization of the work and the location of the work site. As an example, geologists or geomorphologists may frequently travel to remote field sites by helicopter or other means and cover large areas on foot, whereas geological and geophysical oceanographers often collect data while at sea. Exploration geologists and geophysicists often are required to relocate, as their work requires them to live in different communities adjacent to work sites, in remote areas of B.C., other parts of Canada or overseas. Geoscientists usually work regular hours; however, they may be required to work longer hours when required due to seasonal site access limitations, remote location or data gathering equipment requirements. Those working in corporate, consulting or research positions may experience stress when facing deadlines to submit proposals, research grant applications and technical reports. Field work in locations, such as mines, drill sites or rugged terrain, may expose individuals to safety hazards, which can be minimized with safety precautions. Geoscientists may experience exposure to extreme weather conditions, insects, wildlife and other outdoor hazards while working in the field. Field work such as gathering samples may require geoscientists to hammer, dig, use tools, and come in contact with water, snow and ice. Physical stamina is important for doing field work, since this requires carrying rock samples and heavy equipment. Industry sources also report that the globalization of mineral exploration has resulted in many B.C.-based geoscientists working on projects in other countries and climates around the world, often in developing countries in remote rural settings. As such, the risk of infections, diseases and simple injury (because of the distance from modern medical care facilities) is now greater. However, this is a controllable risk if it is well managed. Some geochemists may be exposed to health or safety hazards when handling certain chemicals; however, there is little risk if proper procedures are followed.

Alternate Job Titles

  • Biological Oceanographer
  • Biostratigrapher
  • Chemical Oceanographer
  • Coal Geologist
  • Consulting Geologist
  • Consulting Geophysicist
  • Development Geologist
  • Environmental Geologist
  • Exploration Geologist
  • Exploration Geophysicist
  • Fisheries Oceanographer
  • Geochemist
  • Geodesist
  • Geological Oceanographer
  • Geologist
  • Geomorphologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Glaciologist
  • Groundwater Geologist
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Hydrographic Surveyor - Geology
  • Hydrologist
  • Ice Specialist - Oceanography
  • Marine Geologist
  • Marine Geophysicist
  • Micropaleontologist
  • Mine Geologist
  • Mineralogist
  • Mining Geologist
  • Oceanographer
  • Oil Geologist
  • Paleobotanist
  • Paleoecologist
  • Paleontologist
  • Palynologist
  • Petrographer
  • Petroleum Geologist
  • Petrologist
  • Petrophysicist
  • Photogeologist
  • Physical Oceanographer
  • Placer Geologist
  • Prospecting Geologist
  • Quaternarist
  • Quaternary Scientist
  • Quaternary Specialist
  • Remote Sensing Geologist
  • Sedimentary Geologist
  • Sedimentologist
  • Seismologist
  • Stratigrapher
  • Structural Geologist
  • Volcanologist
  • Wellsite Co-ordinator - Geology

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