What is Earth Science?
Earth scientists or geoscientists
gather and interpret data about the Earth and other
planets. They use their knowledge to increase our
understanding of Earth processes and to improve the
quality of human life. By applying their knowledge of
forces and factors that shape the Earth, geoscientists
seek to reconstruct the past and anticipate the future.
Their work and career paths vary widely because the
geosciences are so broad and diverse. The National
Science Foundation considers geology, geophysics,
hydrology, oceanography, marine science, atmospheric
science, planetary science, meteorology, environmental
science, and soil science as the major geoscience
disciplines. To the geoscientist, the Earth is an
outdoor laboratory filled with opportunities to observe
Earth processes in action, and many geoscientists work
in the field. The following list gives a small glimpse
of what geoscientists who have graduated from Salisbury
University do in some of these disciplines.
Environmental geologists study the
interaction between the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere,
biosphere, and human activities. They work to solve problems
associated with pollution, waste management, urbanization, and
Geomorphologists study Earth's
landforms and landscapes in relation to the geologic and
climatic processes and human activities which form them
including the physical properties and movement of glaciers and
ice sheets. Geomorphologists also study natural hazards, such as
flooding and landslides.
Marine geologists and oceanographers
investigate the physical, chemical, biological, and geologic
dynamics of oceans as well as the ocean-floor and
ocean-continent boundaries. They also study the ocean basins,
the continental shelves, and the coastal environments on
Soil scientists study soils and
their properties to determine how to sustain agricultural
productivity and to detect and remediate contaminated soils.
Atmospheric science begins with a good
understanding of climate, wind systems, and ocean currents.
Atmospheric scientists must be familiar with local
conditions and with weather events throughout the country. They
study, predict, and report on everything from daily weather
conditions to such dangerous phenomena as tornadoes and wind
shear (updrafts and downdrafts of special importance to pilots).
In addition to working for television and radio stations,
weather forecasters work for the government and for large
agribusiness corporations. In addition to their background in
geography, they should have studied earth science, physics, and
Earth science education - Now that
more and more earth science courses are being offered in high
schools and colleges, the need for qualified earth science
teachers has risen dramatically. Courses are geared to state
curriculum requirements in earth science and normally include a
selection of physical science courses such as geology,
meteorology, oceanography, hydrology, chemistry, and computer
science as well as some geography courses. While teaching is not
the highest-paid profession, there are numerous benefits,
including time off for travel or professional development and
the understanding that you are making a real difference in the
lives of young people.