Seismologists study shock waves created by earthquakes and volcanic activity. They also work in oil, gas and minerals exploration.Job Category:
What you will do:
In your day-to-day tasks you may:
- monitor and analyse data from seismic sensors around the world
- map seismic regions and fault lines in the Earth’s surface
- develop early warning systems for earthquake zones
- investigate target sites for new seismic stations
- search for oil and gas deposits under land and sea
- produce survey reports for mining and energy companies
- attend conferences and publish research findings
- take students on field trips to study earthquake and volcano hot spots
- teach students, or train professionals in related fields like people working in disaster risk reduction (teamwork skills)
- knowledge of geography
- science skills
- maths knowledge
- knowledge of physics
- to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
As well as:
To become a seismologist, you will typically need to pursue higher education and obtain a bachelor’s degree and often a master’s or doctoral degree in geophysics, geology, or a related field. While there are no specific subject requirements for becoming a seismologist, having a strong foundation in certain subjects can be beneficial for your future academic and career path. Here are some subjects that may be helpful:
- Mathematics: A strong background in mathematics is essential for understanding and conducting complex scientific calculations involved in seismology. Consider taking advanced math courses.
- Physics: Physics is directly related to the principles of seismology. It helps you understand the behavior of seismic waves and their interactions with Earth’s structures.
- Geography: Geography can provide a foundation in Earth sciences and geological processes, which are relevant to seismology.
- Geology: If available, geology coursework can be highly relevant for understanding Earth’s composition and geological features.
- Environmental Science: This subject can help you gain insights into Earth’s systems, including how they relate to seismic events and environmental impacts.
- Computer Science or IT: Proficiency in computer skills is valuable, as seismologists often use specialized software for data analysis and modeling.
- Biology: Though not directly related to seismology, a broad understanding of science can be useful when working in a scientific field.
- English or Communication Skills: Effective communication skills are essential for documenting research findings, writing reports, and presenting scientific information.
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- working towards this role
You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in:
- Earth science
- environmental science
- computer science
Many employers will expect you to have, or be working towards, a PhD in a relevant subject.
You could start as a PhD research assistant, for example in a university Earth sciences or geophysics engineering department. With further training and experience you could become a seismologist.
Working Hours and Environment:
You could work at a research facility, at a university or in a laboratory.
Your working environment may be physically active and you may spend nights away from home.
You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.
Career Path & Progression:
You could become a project co-ordinator or manager with a seismic research organisation, university or energy company.
In a university post, once you’ve got experience and published original research, you could become a senior research fellow or professor.