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Are Geologists Becoming Extinct?

Are Geologists Becoming Extinct?


A geologist mate told the story of how a taxi driver once asked him what he did for a job. He said he was a geologist and the driver responded: “I always thought that’d be fascinating – studying the ancient Egyptians and that”.

Just for the record, of course that’s not what geologists do. They gather evidence to work out how the earth was formed, and predict what might be under the ground. My mate tells me it’s a bit like being a detective: gathering little clues to build a picture of what happened many millions of years ago.

It’s always a worry when a species is on the brink of extinction, and it seems like geologists might be on their way there.

Even though geologists are more in demand than ever, between 2013 and 2018, the number of geoscience enrolments in Australia fell by 38%.

There are lots of reasons for that. Some young people don’t want to leave the city. And in the last few years, the resources sector has had a bad rap, even though it still contributes over $400 billion per year to Australia’s economy, and provides the minerals we use in just about everything we do. That’s not going to change in a hurry. A clean energy transition will need more than 5 times the minerals we currently produce to build the wind turbines and batteries required.

What’s more you get to work outside, doing an exciting job that makes a difference to people’s lives. What’s not to love about that?