What Do Geologists Do?

The word geology comes from Greek roots meaning earth (geo) and study of (logos). In concurrence with it's broad meaning, the study of geology has many and varied fields, being defined as the science that deals with the earth's physical structure and substance, its history, and the processes that act on it. The faculty at the College of Charleston specialize in each of the differing studies of geology, and you can visit the Faculty Webpages to contact them if you'd like to learn more about their specialization. Below you'll find some examples of the careers and studies a geologist can enter.

Climate Change/Environmental Geology:

Uses geology to study how the environment is changing in response to natural and human factors.

Faculty Contact: Mitchell Colgan


Study of chemistry and how this explains the geologic processes of the Earth.

Faculty Contact: Vijay Vulava, Barbara Beckingham

Geographic Information Systems / Mapping:

Geographic Information Systems: Analyze complex spatial relationships within the context of data sets gathered with a GPS or satelite. 

Faculty Contact: Norman Levine

Hydrology/Water Resources:

Study of the water systems, quality, and distribution of the Earth's water resources.

Faculty Contact: Tim Callahan, Adem Ali

Marine Geology:

  • Seafloor Mapping: Surveying the shape and structure of the seafloor, and using this information to make maps
  • Coastal Processes and Beach Surveying: Surveying beach shorline change and analysis
  • Ocean Observing Systems: Deep sea observatory construction on the Juan de Fuca Plate 
  • Marine Science Education
  • Marine Archeology
  • Paleooceanography and Climate Change

Faculty Contact: Scott Harris, Leslie Sautter


Study of geologic history and the origins of life and earth. Paleogeologists find and study fossils of animals and plants, look at sedimentary layers in rocks, and use this information to study the evolution of life. 

Faculty Contact: Teddy Them

Planetary Geology:

The study of how planetary bodies, solar systems, galaxies, and the universe are formed, and how this impacts our lives. Planetary geologists also plan space missions and use the information gained from research to improve everyday life.

Faculty Contact: Cassandra Runyon


Study of earthquakes, their hazards, and how to be prepared for earthquakes and tsunamis.

Faculty Contact: Steven Jaume, Erin Beutel


  • Geohazards: The study of the way volcanoes affect human life and infrastructure
  • Geochem: The way that different tectonic environments influence the chemistry and behavior of lavas
  • Volcanic Geomorphology: The study of volcanic landforms, how they form, and the many ways that humans coexist with them

Faculty Contact: John Chadwick, Erin Beutel

Lower Banner 2