The natural landscape and set up of the planet earth is a result of several changes and movement of rocks that take place deep inside the earth’s crust. The study of earth sciences involves detailed understanding of the all the earth systems i.e. the atmosphere, water systems and the solid earth itself. It includes intensive study of vast topics ranging from properties of the atmosphere, creation of oceans, evolution of mountains, erosion of continents, causes of earthquakes, location of natural resources and many such related topics. Given this vastness earth sciences is further subdivided into many different fields some of which are geology which is the study of the earth- the material of which it is made; oceanography which is the study of the oceans, its life forms, the physics and chemistry of sea water, and the sea bed; hydrology which is the study of water flow at and below the earth’s surface and atmospheric sciences which is the study of weather, climate and physics and chemistry of the gaseous part of the earth.
Considering the ever-changing characteristics of earth’s systems, earth sciences can prove helpful in predicting their behavior in future. Early prediction and information about natural hazards like earthquake, volcano and floods can help in saving numerous lives and property that are lost during deadly attacks of nature. Thus earth sciences help us analyse and manage the environment effectively for the benefit of human existence.
A career in earth sciences offers many different employment opportunities in government and private sectors. These could be in the areas of minerals and oil exploration; weather forecasting; disaster management; development of infrastructure such as bridges, tunnels, roads, irrigation canals and dams. An earth sciences graduate can thus find employment in the petroleum industry, mining, environment protection agencies, and construction.
To make a career in earth sciences, students need to have an inclination towards studying math and sciences particularly physics and chemistry. They also need to have a critical thinking ability, curiosity, problem solving orientation and an eye for detail. However, the most important trait they need to have is a sense of adventure as they would need to make several field trips and some of them would be desolate areas. One should also have good communication skills for interacting with field experts and teammates during projects and research studies.
Typically apart from geology, most other specializations of earth sciences are available only at the masters level. For taking up these masters programmes a student needs to have pursued physics and chemistry at the bachelors level. A Master’s Degree is the minimum educational requirement that is needed to pursue entry-level research positions in private sector and a Ph.D qualification is necessary for acquiring advanced research and teaching positions.
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