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Careers: Geology/geology careers


I am very interested in becoming a mineralogist but you say it's a dying career path?  That is disheartening, but you said you have alternative reading pertaining to maybe more advanced jobs applicable to modern day problems... Let me know if you still have that information..  I would appreciate it.  SOrry if this is random, I have no idea how old that question was...



Yes, my comment was based on what my professor told me 30 years ago.  He is dead now and the university I attended no longer even teaches mineraloogy and petrology.  I had the pleasure and honor of teaching the optical mineralogy and petrology labs for him.

What I meant and he meant about it being a dying profession is relative.  At one time, when mineralogy was first expanding, it was the cutting edge science of its time.  This was before all the naturally occurring minerals had been discovered.  There was a race by universities and researchers to discover the next new mineral, crystalography and chemistry were expanded and research into atomic structure was also first being explored.

Once all the natural occuring minerals were discovered, crystal classes defined and atomic structures understood, there was not much left to do.  Some man made "minerals" were discovered later like after the atomic blast in New Mexico, Trinitite was was the atomic glass formed by the blast, also known as Atomsite, or Almangordite, it don't think it is truly considered a mineral. It is a combination of feldspar and silica sand, more like a slag found near an old wood fired iron furnace found in Virgina.

Occassionally I nose around to see if what I am saying is still borne out by what is going on in the industries.  Here is something directly from the Mineralogical Society of America:

"The vast majority of mineralogists teach at universities. Smaller numbers work at the U.S. Geological Survey and some state geological surveys. There are also members employed at the national laboratories. Some mineralogists work as museum curators.

Becoming a mineralogist requires at a minimum a college degree and often postgraduate work. Since most mineralogists work in research or teaching a PhD is the commonest degree that is required."

So as you can see, the discipline has kind of fallen into a backwater.  When most of your fellows work at univesities, that means there are few companies willing to pay for the services of a mineralogist.

What I was referring to as other areas of work are ceramics.  The formation of minerals have been graphed using phase diagrams, whereby the formation of certain mineral forms in a group of minerals such a olivine for example can be predicted to form when certain temperatures and pressures are reached.  They are called phase diagrams because, in regions of the diagrams, liquid, solid and gaseous phases are predicted to occur.

These same concepts can be used in the formation of modern ceramics as well as archeological investigations.

Some jobs are to be had in the mining industry, but they are fairly narrow in scope, and confined to economic minerals, doing assays, or prospecting for new deposits.

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Keith Patton


Career and educational options open for fledgling geoscience students. What courses you should take to prepare for the current job market.


24 years experience in Petroleum, Environmental Consulting and geological and geophysical computer software development.


Registered Geologist in Texas
Certified mapping scientitst in RS

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