Geochemistry Jobs

This area is about Geochemistry jobs including various aspects including what geochemists and areas of expertise

What is Geochemistry?

Geochemistry is the study of the chemicals in the earth, the interactions of these chemicals and the distribution of elements in natural earth systems. Applied geochemistry studies the nature, origin and distribution of different types of oil and gas beneath the surface of the earth. Geochemists assess how human activities affect soil and water chemistry. Such information is critical from economic and environmental perspectives.

What Do Geochemists Do?

Geochemists study the chemistry of the earth to make informed decisions and help solve earth science problems. By applying physical and inorganic chemistry they conduct research and analyze the quantity and distribution of chemicals in rocks, minerals, fluids, and gases. Geochemists can find minerals by analyzing trace quantities of chemicals.

Field work includes collecting and analyzing soil and sediment samples, studying the effects of erosion, sedimentation or tectonic formations. Geochemists work with other scientists and engineers and write technical reports which are useful to mining and petroleum operations, resource management and environmental programs.

What qualifications do Geochemists need?

Careers in geochemistry require an advanced degree plus laboratory skills. A strong background in math, science, English and geography is necessary. An entry level position as a geochemical technician requires a bachelor's degree with strengths in chemistry, organic and inorganic or a combined chemistry-geology program. Most geochemists have a master's degree or PhD.

What areas do Geochemists cover in their courses?

Typical undergraduate courses include: Analytical Chemistry, Calculus, Computer Applications, Geochemistry, Optical Mineralogy, Organic Chemistry, Physical Geology, Physics, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy.

Graduate level work continues to emphasize earth science with a strong math and chemistry background. These graduate level courses are typical for Masters and doctoral level studies.

  • Applied Geographic Information Systems
  • Aqueous Geochemistry
  • BioGeochemistry
  • Contaminant Hydrogeology
  • Environmental Organic Chemistry
  • Geomicrobiology
  • Groundwater Engineering
  • Microbiology and the Environment
  • Mineralogy and Crystal Chemistry
  • Nuclear and Isotopic Geochemistry
  • Organic Geochemistry of fossil fuels
  • What areas of specialization may Geochemists choose?

    Each area of specialization may be experimental, theoretical, and analytical or applied. The work may be either environmental, such as disposing of toxic wastes, or commercial, like exploring for oil.

    Specific areas of expertise include:

  • Crystal Geochemistry where the patterns of element chemistry in crystals and the properties caused by chemical variations are determined.
  • Low Temperature Geochemistry studies the behavior of minerals or elements reacting under conditions near the surface of the earth, usually involving interactions with water, rocks, and minerals.
  • High Temperature Geochemistry studies he formation of minerals and rocks deep in the crust or in volcanoes or hot springs.
  • Cosmic Geochemistry is about chemical interactions involved in the condensation of matter and exploring the formation and evolution of the earth, the planets and universe.
  • Organic Geochemistry examines organic chemical reactions and patterns in earth processes such as vegetation decay, mineral formation and dissolution, and coal and oil formation.
  • Isotope Geochemistry uses stable element isotope patterns or radioactive isotope values to determine the origin and age of minerals, rocks, the earth, and planets.
  • Where do Geochemists work?

    Geochemists spend most of their time in the field, collecting data, and analyzing samples on site. Geochemists may work at all levels of government agencies or teach at universities or research institutes. Geochemists may be employed by geochemical companies, petroleum and mining companies, and geology, geophysics and engineering consulting firms. Some geochemists become private consultants or suppliers for geological and geochemical expeditions.