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What is Geophysics and Seismology?
Geophysics and Seismology is a field of study in natural science that is focused on the physical properties and physical processes associated with the Earth.
The study of Geophysics includes Earth’s magnetic fields, internal structure, gravitational fields, internal composition, dynamics, plate tectonics, volcanism, rock formation, water cycle, fluid dynamics, electricity, atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere, and relationship with other planets.
Seismology is the study of earthquakes and the associated elastic waves through Earth and other planets. The field of seismology includes seismic sources and environmental effects such as: volcanic, tectonic, tsunami, oceanic, atmospheric, earthquakes, and artificial sources.
How to Become a Seismologist
In order to become a seismologist, you will want to possess a latent curiosity about the world around you. Specifically, an intrigue and fascination of how earthquakes and elastics waves ripple through earth and the effects of those moments.
This natural curiosity will help spurn vital questions that lead to advancements in the field of study. Classes you will want to emphasize in college include physics, math, computer science, and geology.
Most professionals in seismology work closely with other scientists and professionals to collaborate and share information. The work environment will likely toggle between making observations and collecting data in the field with working in an office setting crunching numbers and validating theories.
Educational Requirements for Seismologists
In terms of educational requirements, Geophysics and Seismology degree holders will have typically studied the following courses while in college:
Employment in Geophysics & Seismology
For students that earn a college degree in Geophysics and Seismology, there are several fields of specialization that one can pursue. The options range from civil engineer, conservation scientist, environmental engineer, geoscientist, landscape architect, surveyor, urban planner, geologist, materials scientist, environmental scientist, geoscientist, mathematician, hydrologist, physicist, post-secondary teacher, environmental engineer, petroleum engineer, astronomer, and atmospheric science in the public or private domain to name a few possible career tracks.
Seismology Jobs & Career Outlook
The job growth in the Geophysics and Seismology domain are above average. For example, the rate of job growth for Geophysics and Seismology is expected to rise 11% through 2024 and for postsecondary teachers a 13% growth rate is expected during the same period.
Given the nature of the Geophysics and Seismology degree, compensation after graduation can vary greatly from career field to career field given prior experience and geographic location. Related fields include training, research, policy, field work, managing, leading, and directing.
Additional Resources for Seismologists and Geophysicists
For students and working professionals looking to learn more about the field and connect with other professional, national associations may be a valuable means to that end. The best associations in the field are The International Association of Seismology and Physics of the Earth's Interior (IASPEI), the Seismological Society of American (SSA), and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SGE).