Career Development

What Does an Exploration Geologist Do?

Find out what an exploration geologist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an exploration geologist.

Exploration geologists search for valuable minerals and metals. They study the earth’s surface to identify areas that may contain these materials, then they explore those areas in search of deposits that can be mined or extracted.

Exploration geologists use a variety of tools and techniques to find these deposits. This might include mapping out rock formations and identifying potential mineral sources using seismic equipment or other methods.

Exploration Geologist Job Duties

Exploration geologists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Assessing potential mineral deposits, including locating and mapping them using geologic surveys, seismic data analysis, or other methods
  • Conducting geological research on new methods for extracting minerals or creating new products from existing minerals
  • Preparing technical reports about geological findings and their implications for future exploration activities
  • Inspecting mines and mining operations, including measuring and recording the size of pit walls, monitoring air quality, and identifying safety hazards
  • Conducting geological surveys of soil, rock, and groundwater conditions at proposed construction sites to identify possible environmental impacts and mitigation strategies
  • Providing geological services to the public, such as identifying fossils found on public lands
  • Preparing maps of mineral deposits using computer software programs such as GIS (geographic information systems) or CAD (computer-aided design)
  • Conducting laboratory tests to identify the chemical composition of rocks or minerals
  • Preparing reports about findings to clients, colleagues, and supervisors

Exploration Geologist Salary & Outlook

Exploration geologists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the company they work for.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $353,000 ($169.71/hour)

The employment of exploration geologists is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

The need to find new sources of energy, such as natural gas and renewable energy, will increase demand for geologists who can help locate these resources. In addition, the need to explore for new deposits of minerals used in consumer electronics, such as rare-earth elements, will continue to drive demand for geologists.

Exploration Geologist Job Requirements

A successful exploration geologist typically has the following:

Education: Most employers require exploration geologists to have a bachelor’s degree in geology, earth science, geophysics or a related field. Some employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in geology or a related field.

Many universities offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology. Courses in these programs include mineralogy, geochemistry, geophysics, geology and fieldwork.

Training & Experience: Exploration geologists typically receive on-the-job training in the form of an entry-level position in the field. These positions provide exploration geologists with practical experience in the field. They may work as field assistants, field technicians or field surveyors.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not usually a requirement to become an exploration geologist. However, those seeking to become an exploration geologist should have a strong interest in the earth and a desire to explore and discover its mysteries.

Exploration Geologist Skills

Exploration geologists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Technical skills are the practical skills you use to complete tasks. Technical skills are important for exploration geologists because they use these skills to complete their job duties. Technical skills include computer programs, data analysis, mapping and data collection.

Communication skills: Exploration geologists often work in teams, so communication skills are an important part of their job. They often communicate with other members of their team to share information about the site they’re exploring and to make decisions about what to do next. They also communicate with other professionals, such as engineers, to get information about the site and to learn about the history of the site.

Teamwork skills: Exploration geologists often work in teams to complete their work. They may work with other geologists, engineers, surveyors and other professionals to complete their work. Having good teamwork skills can help you work with others to complete projects and tasks.

Problem-solving skills: Exploration geologists use their problem-solving skills to find solutions to challenges they face in the field. For example, they may need to find a way to access a remote area or find a way to overcome a safety issue.

Adaptability: Exploration geologists often work in teams, so adaptability is an important skill for them to have. They often work with other professionals, such as engineers, surveyors and other geologists, and they need to be able to work well with others. They also often travel to remote locations, so they need to be able to adapt to new environments and situations.

Exploration Geologist Work Environment

Exploration geologists typically work for mining or oil companies and are responsible for finding new deposits of minerals or oil. They work both in the field and in the office, and travel is often required. In the field, exploration geologists may spend long hours hiking and camping in remote areas, sometimes in difficult terrain and in all types of weather. They also use a variety of sophisticated equipment, such as global positioning system (GPS) receivers and computers, to map geologic features. In the office, they use their field data and observations to create maps and reports that are used by mining or oil companies to locate new deposits. Exploration geologists typically work a standard 40-hour week, but they may work longer hours when deadlines are approaching or when they are in the field.

Exploration Geologist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how exploration geologists work. Exploration geologists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Geoscientists

The need for more geoscientists is a trend that is being driven by the increasing demand for energy and mineral resources. As exploration becomes more complex, companies are looking for professionals who have the skills to help them find new deposits.

This trend is good news for exploration geologists, as it means that there will be increased opportunities for employment in the field. In order to take advantage of this trend, exploration geologists should focus on developing their technical skills and networking with other professionals.

More Collaboration Between Geologists and Engineers

As the mining industry continues to evolve, so too does the role of the geologist. Traditionally, geologists have been responsible for mapping out underground resources and identifying potential drilling sites. However, in recent years there has been an increased emphasis on collaboration between geologists and engineers.

This trend is likely due to the fact that both geologists and engineers play important roles in the mining process. By working together, they can create a more efficient and productive work environment. Exploration geologists can capitalize on this trend by becoming familiar with the latest engineering technologies and learning how to work effectively with engineers.

Greater Focus on Environmental Sustainability

As society becomes increasingly concerned about environmental sustainability, the mining industry is beginning to focus more on ways to reduce its impact on the planet. This is leading to a greater focus on exploration geology, which involves finding new sources of minerals that can be mined in a way that is environmentally friendly.

Exploration geologists can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in sustainable mining methods. This will allow them to help mining companies find new sources of minerals that can be mined without damaging the environment.

How to Become an Exploration Geologist

Exploration geologists have a unique and rewarding career path. They are involved in all aspects of the exploration process, from planning to execution. This means they must be well-versed in a variety of disciplines, including geology, engineering, hydrology, and geography.

To become an exploration geologist, you need a bachelor’s degree in geology or a related field. You should also have experience working in the field and lab. Many companies offer internships that can help you get started in this field.

Related: How to Write an Exploration Geologist Resume

Advancement Prospects

Exploration geologists typically advance in their careers by taking on more responsibility within their organization, such as managing a team of geologists or overseeing a specific project. They may also choose to start their own consulting business or become involved in academia, teaching at a university or conducting research. As they gain experience and knowledge, exploration geologists can also expect to see their salaries increase.

Similar Jobs


What Does an Electrical Drafter Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does a Psychology Teacher Do?