Earth matters Hindustan Times

Earth matters
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 28, 2013
First Published: 16:51 IST(28/5/2013)
Last Updated: 17:53 IST(28/5/2013)

Rolling in the deep: A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the earth as well as the processes and history that has shaped it

The lowdown Geology is the study of the earth and its processes. This discipline includes geophysics, atmospheric science, oceanography, hydrogeology (concerned with distribution and movement of groundwater in the earth’s crust), palaeontology (study of fossils, origin of

life), physics of the earth, crystallography, geoexploration, geostatistics, geomaths, geochemistry, economic geology, environmental geology, remote sensing and GIS, among others. Earth scientists work in the Geological Survey of India, Central Ground Water Board, Indian Bureau of Mines, Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, government mining departments (directorates of mines and geology), mining companies, oil exploration companies such as ONGC, Schlumberger, Oil India, gas exploration companies like Reliance, Hindustan Zinc Ltd, Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography, Central Road Research Institute and other research organisations. Teaching and research in universities and colleges is an option for the academically inclined.Clockwork
The average workday of a Geological Survey of India geologist away in the field (which could be a jungle, a mountain, a ravine, or a plain), where he stays in a camp for three-four months:
7.30am: Set out for field work. Collect rock, soil and water samples and data. Carry out field mapping
5pm: Return to camp before sunset
Till 9pm: Organise the samples. Process the data. Plot the data on a map. Send data to the headquarters, where other geologists analyse and study the samples, write reports and take care of administrative tasks

The payoff
The median salary of a geologist with an MSc degree is Rs. 5 lakh per annum. The average salary of a geologist with MSc degree varies from area to area and is dependent on a person’s knowledge. Starting from a meagre Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 27,000 a month for a fresh geologist in a small private mining company in a remote location, he/she can fetch Rs. 1.5 lakh a month as starting salary in an international oil and gas company (if posted on off-shore oil rigs, he might earn US$200 to 300 per day as additional perks)

* Interest in science, including biology
* Good physique and stamina to work in the field
* Persistence
* Deep understanding of nature and natural phenomena

Getting there
Take science (with maths) at the plus-two level. Go for a bachelor’s degree, followed by a master’s degree. A doctorate is required for (university) research positions

Institutes and URLs
* University of Delhi,
* Aligarh Muslim University,
* Banaras Hindu University,
* Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad,
* Bangalore University,
* Jadavpur University, Kolkata,
* Presidency University, Kolkata,
* Department of Geology & Geophysics, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
* University of Calcutta, Kolkata,
* Centre for Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
* Department of Geology, University of Pune 

Pros and cons
* Work and research opportunities abound both in India and abroad
* Scope for new discoveries
* You can visit unusual places
* Work may involve travel and even staying in camps
* Most jobs are available only after MSc programme
* Geology is a low-key discipline that not many students hanker after

Geology is fascinating in addition to opening a multitude of career opportunities, it profoundly alters one’s worldview, enabling one to appreciate movements of very large parts of the earth’s crust —- Mallickarjun Joshi, professor, department of geology, Banaras Hindu University

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