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Geophysics : Job Prospects & Career Options

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Aspirants with specialisation in geophysics have job possibilities both in India and abroad. Most of the geophysicists are employed by industries in the mining, oil, and natural gas sector. These geophysicists locate areas where there is high probability of finding deposits of minerals. There are another category of geophysicists who evaluate earth properties for environmental hazards and evaluate areas for dams or construction sites. They are employed by Marine survey companies and environmental consulting companies. In the government sector, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) mainly employs Geophysicists. With Ph.D in geophysics one can take teaching positions in universities/institutes. Geophysicists can further advance to management and administrative positions.

Most geophysicists spend at least part of their working career doing fieldwork, sometimes in remote areas in difficult conditions. Frequent travel, hard physical labor, long hours and limited companionship are all part of their fieldwork. They may have to stay away from home for many days, which may be depressing to a few. Hours of work varies with the type of work performed. If one holds administrative positions they can work regular hours.

Some career avenues and specialisations for Geophysicists are

Exploration Geophysics

Exploration geophysics is the applied branch of geophysics which uses surface methods to measure the physical properties of the subsurface Earth, in order to detect or infer the presence and position of ore, minerals, hydrocarbons, geothermal reservoirs, groundwater reservoirs, and other geological structures. Exploration geophysics is a highly recognized field in terms of mineral prospecting, mapping and acquiring a comprehensive understanding of the geoscience of specific terrain. Exploration geophysicists work with geologists, geotechnical engineers, petroleum engineers, mining engineers and other professionals, and may be responsible for the supervision of a team of other professionals, technologists and support staff. They may have to spend a considerable amount of time in the field, sometimes in remote locations.


Seismology is the scientific study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth or through other planet-like bodies. The field also includes studies of earthquake effects, such as tsunamis as well as diverse seismic sources such as volcanic, tectonic, oceanic, atmospheric, and artificial processes (such as explosions).


Geodesy also named geodetics, a branch of earth science deals with the study of earth as a whole planet. Geodesists study the size, shape, and gravitational field of the Earth and other planets. They also study phenomena such as crustal motion, tides and polar motion.

Atmospheric physics

Atmospheric physics is the application of physics to the study of the atmosphere. In other words, it is the study of the atmosphere in terms of its physical properties and dynamics. Geophysicists investigate the earth's magnetic and electric fields, and compare its outer atmosphere with those of other planets.


Geomagnetism is the study of the Earth’s magnetic field, including its origin, telluric currents driven by the magnetic field and the interaction of the magnetic field with the solar wind. Geomagnetists work to discover the origins of the planet through the study of magnetic fields.

Marine Geophysics

Marine geophysics is a scientific discipline that is concerned with the application of geophysical methods to problems of marine geology. Marine geophysics is associated with the concepts and problems of seafloor spreading, continental drift, and plate tectonics.

Environmental Geophysics

A branch of earth science where Geophysical techniques may be used to monitor environmental impact of, for example, water contaminants by creating maps of the subsurface and investigating groundwater movement.


Paleomagnetism is the study of the record of the Earth's magnetic field preserved in various magnetic minerals through time.


It is the study of earth's atmosphere as well as the atmospheric conditions. Meteorology also deals with weather forecasting by applying physical and mathematical principles to atmospheric conditions. Meteorologists can find work in meteorological departments, military, TV/ radio stations, education institutes, and consulting meteorology businesses.


It is the scientific study of the oceans which cover about 70 percent of the earth's surface. It includes ocean's physical properties, oceanic mapping and exploration. Read more


Salary of geophysicists varies depending on education, experience, position, employer and geographical location. In mining and oil exploration sector salary is lucrative. A fresher can expect to start with anything between Rs.15000/- to 25000/- per month which can shoot up with experience and talent. One can go ahead and reach administrative level after gaining experience and career advancement. The salary ranges from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.2 lakh per month in administrative jobs depending upon the sector one has joined.


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