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Geophysicists study the earth's physical features, including its atmosphere and hydrosphere. They examine and measure seismic, gravitational, electrical, thermal and magnetic forces, using the principles of physics, mathematics and chemistry.

They analyze data to compute the earth's shape, estimate composition and structure of the earth's interior, determine flow patterns of ocean tides and currents and help locate petroleum and mineral deposits. They investigate the origin and activity of volcanoes, glaciers and earthquakes.

They compile data to prepare navigational charts and maps, predict atmospheric conditions, prepare environmental reports and establish water supply and flood control programmes. Some may also study other planets. Solid earth, fluid earth and upper atmosphere, are three general fields of geophysicists.

Geophysics involves the use of a number of techniques used to solve specific problems. The most important of these are: the gravity technique, the magnetic method, seismic techniques, electric and electromagnetic methods and radiomagnetic methods.

Geophysicists generally spend a certain percentage of their time in the field carrying out geographical measurements, while the rest of the time is spent in the laboratory or office, processing, interpreting, modelling, evaluating and reporting the results.

Satisfying Aspects
- the variety and challenges of the work;
- working with scientists from other fields
- increasing scientific knowledge about the universe

Demanding aspects
- frustration involved in doing research
- working in remote areas

A geophysicist should:
- be curious;
- think analytically;
- have mathematical ability;
- be able to communicate well both in speech and in writing;
- be able to work as part of a team;
- have good health;
- enjoy working outside and away from home.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Science
Recommended Subjects: Geography

Degree: BSc majoring in Geography - all universities, or majoring in Geography and Environmental Management / Sciences / Studies - NWU, UFS, UJ, UCT, NMMU, UKZN, UNISA, UV, UWC, US, UL, WSU, Wits.

The entry requirement for this career is a BSc (Hons) in Geophysics or Physics.

- mining groups
- government departments (Geological Survey, Water Affairs)
- industry
- Chamber of Mines
- research institutes, such as CSIR
- universities of technology and universities
- consulting companies
- self-employment, as a consultant

Geological Society of South Africa
P O Box 61809
Linden, 2107
Tel: (011) 492-3370 Fax: (011) 492-3371

Council for Geoscience
Private Bag x112
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 841- 1911 Fax: (012) 841-1221