UTAS Home › Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology › Earth Sciences (Geology, Geophysics & Geochemistry) › Why study geology?
Past and present UTAS staff, students and external collaborators talk about their passion for geology, and why it's such a vital subject in today's world.
"It's a no brainer. If you know a bit about geology you can look at a landscape and see beneath it; look at the ocean and see to the depths; look at a coastline and see the remarkable ways in which the landscape and the ocean interact. And you can see the ways in which the landscape influences the life that inhabits this small blue dot, not just now, but into the deep past. Geology expands your ability to see the world in all four dimensions. I wanted to be a geo from high school."
- Dr Tony Webster, Industry Geologist
"No other science provides you with such a range of opportunities! Geology engages you in everything that makes life fascinating and exciting: science, travel, politics, culture, nature - you name it, geology has it. Routine? - What's that?"
- Dr Janina Micko, University of Tasmania Research Fellow (2012)
"When I'm working I often reflect and say to myself: 'Someone is actually paying me to do this fantastic job?' I've had a ball throughout my career - when you work in geology the cosmos is your backyard and the rewards both personally and in terms of what you give back to the community are high.
Geology is like a detective story; there's a real thrill in putting the data together. You have hunches, you persist, and you make discoveries. It involves both the discovery of ore bodies and the discovery of new scientific ideas, and it totally consumes you at times.
Exploration geology has become so globalised now. When you travel you're not just travelling to other countries - you're going to remote places that others will never see and have the privilege of meeting remarkable people. You also have the satisfaction of contributing to community development in remote areas through creating jobs and wealth for local people.
It's been a wonderful career and, in all the years I've worked in this field I've never once heard anyone say they're sorry they became an exploration geologist"
- Ian Willis, International Geoscience Consultant
"I became a geologist because as a young boy my favourite bedtime story was from the book called "The Sea" and it was about the eruption of Krakatau volcano in 1883 in Indonesia. This story fascinated me and started my interest in volcanoes. From that early beginning I studied geography in high school and discovered geology when I went to University.
My early passion for volcanoes has lead me into a life-long career in geology which has afforded me the opportunity to work in mineral exploration, and teach about and research economic geology in over 40 countries and several oceans of the world.
If you love travel, the outdoors, meeting new and interesting people and rocks then geology is for you. Try it, I guarantee you will not be disappointed!"
- Professor Bruce Gemmell - Director of CODES ARC Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits
"Why do I like geology? I study hot springs on volcanoes in the ocean! The only way it could get more exciting is if somehow dinosaurs were involved!! (and geologists study those too)"
- Heidi Berkenbosch, PhD student (2012)
"What inspired me and why do I love geology? If someone asks me what I study, or what interests me, I can point to the ground and say - This!"
Why is this exciting? Imagine a table of our collective knowledge of planet-related (both Earth and extraterrestrial) processes. In one column is a list of geological phenomen - mass extinctions, mantle cooling processes, the aurorae, the conditions surrounding the origins of life, rare earth element deposits, earthquakes - and in the adjacent columns we have causes, frequencies, practical applications, and so on.
This table contains some very impressive ideas and observations, such as that continents are currently rifting and colliding at about the rate of fingernail growth, that some metal deposits have wide and detectable signatures, and that Earth's outer metal core generates a powerful magnetic field.
The most interesting parts of the table, though, are the empty spaces. They are questions that can be addressed from almost any direction - programming, materials science, physics, biology, astronomy - and the geologist's job is to do just that. It is an interesting job, and one that brings a lot of privilege in terms of choosing work/study locations, schedules, and fine tuning of the work/leisure and indoors/outdoors balance."
- Marc Rinne, PhD student (2012)
"When I was about 16, I found that geology covered all those things I had found interested me. I was lucky in growing up in the country of Western Australia and saw rocks, fossils, landforms etc. My school did not teach matriculation geology, so I gave up history (although I am now deep into history which is the shortest form of geology) and did matriculation geology at technical school with a couple of great teachers who allowed the course to reflect our interests.
I also believe there is a geological personality that is great with very wide interests. Looking back after 50 years, I see geology as giving a context for putting everything under the general heading of 'How the world works, and my place in it'. It is an awesome subject."
- Professor Pat Quilty, Honorary Research Professor, AM
"What inspired me to do geology? Passionate about chemistry and I love working outdoors."
- Ariel Pascoe, Honours student 2012
"I knew I wanted to be a geologist from when I was seven years old. I love the way different minerals fit together within a rock and really wanted to understand the processes that formed these beautiful specimens. I didn't know anything about a career in geology or mining until after my second year in geology.
I've now moved to Tasmania for my PhD and it's the beginning of another adventure for me. A career in geology has so much to offer and I can't imagine myself being anywhere else except where I am right now. That is a great feeling."
- Selina Wu, PhD student (2012)
"As a school kid I loved collecting minerals and fossils. Tasmania is a great place for this as we have such exciting geology, with a great range of mineral deposits and plenty of evidence of ancient life. Geological research is like a detective investigation; we need to piece the evidence together to come up with the final solution - this is exciting stuff and I can't imagine a better profession."
- Professor Ross Large, UTAS Distinguished Professor and former Director of CODES
Authorised by the Head of School, Physical Sciences
26 December, 2012