Geophysics is a massive branch of science that uses physics to study how the forces that form and shape the Earth work. Geophysics includes the studies of oceanography, geomagnetism, seismology, volcanology, geothermometry, meteorology, gravity, and the atmospheric sciences. Geophysics also includes the study of ground and surface water, plate tectonics, glaciology, and a host of other sub-specialisations.
Geophysicists work in many areas. Perhaps the oldest area of geophysical research is seismology, in which geophysicists try to predict earthquakes. Prediction is still an area in its infancy, but there have been great improvements in the measurements of seismic activity.
Another example of research by geophysicists is the work they are doing in trying to determine why large parts of Canada, especially the areas around Hudson Bay, have lower gravity than elsewhere. Other geophysicists are studying phenomena such as geomagnetic substorms, which cause communication problems and disruptions to power grids. (Geomagnetic substorms cause phenomena such as the Northern Lights and the Southern Aurora). At the moment, nobody knows what causes these geomagnetic substorms.
Other geophysicists work in the area of exploration geophysics, which uses geophysical theories and instruments in the search for petroleum deposits and mineral deposits. This research has dramatically increased humanity's abilities to exploit natural resources. Many geophysicists work in the area of electromagnetic technologies that are used to monitor water reservoirs and bores. Others work in hydrology, in which they find and manage water supplies, and in climate and glacier research. Other geologists extend their researches beyond Earth to work on other planets in the solar system.
To work as a geophysicist, you may need to be flexible and fit. Geophysicists may work in remote areas or places with extreme conditions, and may need to carry heavy backpacks or equipment for long hours. They may often work outside of normal working hours, and they may need a commitment to working in a remote area for up to six months without a break.
Geophysicists also need to be familiar with computers, especially word processing, spreadsheet, and database packages. A potential geophysicist would also need to be familiar with industry standard equipment such as the Geonics EM61 metal detector, the Trimble 5800 DGPS GPS positioning system for marine applications, and the Geometrics G-858 magnetometer data acquisition system.
Geophysics is a scientific area that is currently in high demand. With oil and other resources fast diminishing, the search for new deposits is urgent, and geophysicists are urgently needed for this search.
For further information, consult: http://www.seg.org/publications/geophysics/