Geoscientists study processes on Earth and on other planets to better understand our resources and responsibilities within our natural world. They investigate the internal structure of the Earth, reconstruct plate movements through time, decipher rock layers and fossils that indicate different environments, and create models of future climate change. They interpret ocean temperatures to predict weather patterns, study soil types to maximize agricultural production, model petroleum reservoirs to guide drilling decisions, and map optimal ore locations for mining operations. Geoscientists are found hiking on active volcanoes, extracting cores on ice sheets and glaciers, measuring streamflow in the middle of a river, and mapping outcrops in rough terrain.
The 21st century will see increased environmental conflicts, water shortages, energy resource depletions, land use debates, and globalization that bring these issues close to home wherever they are occurring. The role of the geoscientist will be more important than ever before in guiding public policy and informed decisions in our ever-shrinking world.