Geology: Learn what makes Earth rock.


One fine day, Tony and his friend, Abbott, are driving down a pleasant California highway. Abbott gazes out the passenger-side window and notices black, squiggly lines in the asphalt of the road. He wonders what they are, but he just doesn't know. He panics. Those black lines, what are they? They haunt him for the rest of the car ride. He needs to know.

Lucky for him, Tony studied geology in college. "Tony," begins Abbott. "What were those squiggly black lines in the road?" Tony smiles broadly. Finally, a rock question. He responds, "That's tar. They use it to fill the cracks in the asphalt, kind of like glue." Abbott is ecstatic. He no longer has to resort to Google, and Tony saves the day with his solid rock knowledge.

Exciting? Our sediments exactly…

Okay, we'll admit it. Geology doesn't quite have the same adrenaline-pinching reputation as, say, an army medic, but that doesn't mean it's not interesting. Aside from having great potential for puns, geology is a very important field. After all, geology does revolve around this big ol' hunk of rock we call Earth.

The stuff you learn about as a geology major is extremely applicable to real-world problems and, like most hard sciences, geology involves doing a lot of research. And there are plenty of sub-fields of geology, so if petrogenesis doesn't rock your world, maybe plate tectonics will. Hey, Earth is big and there are lots of things goin' on. It's way more than just looking at rocks all day.

Geology can fulfill all those inner prospector needs, like finally finding out the difference between an igneous rock and a sedimentary rock, or perhaps why rose quartz has such a pretty pink hue. Either way, studying the minerals that make up our happy little planet can prepare you for a pretty sweet career. One word: petroleum. An advanced degree is not all that necessary, but if you're a huge fan of planet Earth, it might be worth it.

Percentage of US students who major in Geology:


Stats obtained from this source.