Geological Oceanographers use geophysical technologies to examine the makeup of the ocean bedrock and the natural processes of rock movement. Often times referred to as and Geophysical Oceanographers as well.

“Geological Oceanographer’s also study the ocean floor, which is very important in surfing!”

What Does a Geological Oceanographer Do?

Geophysics is a vital tool in examining the nature of the land and the changing topography. In archaeology, it records natural and artificial features, mapping them with high precision. In environmental science, it takes vital measurements of ecological features and changes. In construction, it maps soil, rock and topography to best use the land for development. In geological and geophysical oceanography, the same principles and technology are used to understand how the Earth works beneath the oceans. It provides the data for geographic information systems to use for a wide range of purposes.

Many are employed in fossil fuel prospecting, searching for new oil and gas pockets. This is a vital role while we still rely largely on fossil fuels for our energy needs. However, this is not the only role that they fulfil. They are also involved in understanding how subaquatic tectonic plates work, mapping and dating rock formations beneath the oceans, surveying ocean geological features such as grabens and trenches and completing the map of our world in areas where humans cannot yet reach.

Some will also be employed in sustainability, ensuring that the ocean floors are treated with respect and preserved for the greater good of the ecology, the life that occupies it, and safe from human actions such as mining.

Where Does a Geological Oceanographer Work?

Most Geological and Geophysical Oceanographers work in fossil fuel prospection and detection. It was recorded in 2010 that most geological surveyors (and geoscientists as a broader term) 22% of people with these qualifications work in the petroleum industry. Around 1/6 work in engineering services (for geoscientists) but this number is likely to be lower for geological and geophysical oceanography as far less construction and engineering takes place at sea. They may be placed in areas where they may design oil and gas rigs and extraction systems for the ocean. 1/7 work in technical consulting and scientific services. 1/12 work in state government (not including education or healthcare) and 1/14 in academia.

Geological Oceanography Jobs & Job Description

Geological and Geophysical Oceanographers study and record the physical properties and processes of the ocean. There are many components to the role of Geological and Geophysical Oceanographers; some of the requirements or duties are:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in oceanography, marine geology or related field of study
  • Amount of travel will vary depending on company of work
  • Ability to travel comfortably by land transportation and watercraft
  • Time spent mainly outdoors collecting data from the ocean using submersed probes and equipment attached to buoys
  • Data analysis performed in laboratory or office – sometimes at sea – using computer software and databases
  • Ability to display accurate geological and geophysical information on graphs, charts or maps
  • Perform work in extreme weather conditions and temperatures
  • Ability to thrive in exposure to dangerous or disruptive weather and marine elements, quickly changing ocean conditions
  • Ability to take measurements of topological features in the oceans and record coordinates of features
  • Accurately map all information collected
  • Analyze geophysical sounds collected by submersed instruments and accurately log results
  • Share results with the scientific community through databases and presentations
  • Maintain and regularly calibrate instruments and equipment

Senior level Geological and Geophysical Oceanographers include the duties and components listed above of first tier Geological and Geophysical Oceanographers. This position will vary from job to job and the components or duties may include:

  • A Master’s degree or Ph.D. in oceanography, geology or related field of study and experience related to the field
  • Design and develop programs for observations and data collection
  • Develop new procedures to enhance data collection and monitoring programs
  • Use a high degree of analytical and problem solving skills to complete workloads
  • Foster excellent presentation skills to present geophysical and geological data collected to clients, management and governments
  • Prepare budgets for exploration projects and place orders for required equipment and supplies
  • Manage teams of scientists and additional staff members during data collection and analysis of information
  • Provide training to staff on scientific methods and equipment utilization
  • Use knowledge and expertise to teach in an educational institute