Geophysicist Spotlight

Geophysicists are math-centric geoscientists who study the physics of the earth. They study the structure, composition and processes of the earth to locate, identify and extract oil, gas, minerals and groundwater.

What a typical day looks like:

Geophysicists calculate the magnetics, resistivity, gravity, and velocity of sound waves that can help shed light on the earth’s structure. Seismic exploration, for example, is a deep imaging technique, which measures sound waves transmitted through rock.

In the oil and gas industry, Geophysicists work hand-in-hand with Geologists, Geochemists and Engineers to identify natural gas, oil or underground water resources. They plan geophysical field studies or surveys used to collect data for research or applications and then interpret the results combined with well logs or aerial photos to help find the size, orientation and composition of mineral ore bodies and oil and gas deposits. They may also use this data to prepare geophysical maps, cross-sectional diagrams or reports concerning the results of field surveys.

Geophysicists can specialize in areas such as petroleum exploration and development, mining, environmental or earth physics. Within these disciplines, they could serve as an Acquisition Geophysicist, Processing Geophysicist or Interpretation Geophysicist. Acquisition Geophysicists are more hands-on with data-capturing technologies like seismographs and magnetometers. Processing Geophysicists take that underground image and sharpen it with advanced mathematical calculations. Interpretation Geophysicists interpret the data and provide recommendations on how to most efficiently get oil or gas out of the ground.

The kinds of problems Geophysicists solve at work:

Geophysicists work hard to help oil and gas companies answer one of their biggest questions – where is the oil? They know how to properly interpret the results of their studies, surveys, and data to clearly identify the location, size and type of deposit the oil company has found.

Skills used most on the job:

Geophysicists have a solid command of geology, physics, and mathematics. They are also excellent at working with others to make decisions and solve complex problems. On top of all this, they are also detail-oriented and believers in quality control.

Geophysicists travel hundreds of metres below the Earth’s surface from the comfort of a computer to help unearth one important piece to the puzzle of what’s going on underground.

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