We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What does a Geochemist do?

By Angie Bates
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A geochemist is a type of scientist who uses both geology and chemistry to study the earth. Working primarily with rocks and minerals, geochemists study the chemical make up of and interaction between various substances found in the earth. They work with oil companies, the government, and environmental agencies, and as researchers and teachers.

Geochemists may work in the public or private sector, but their main goal is generally to find ways to minimize or repair damage to the environment due to human interference. They spend much of their time in the field, traveling nationally or worldwide to study sites, gather and analyze samples, and conduct research. Usually a geochemist will work with teams of other scientists while on the job.

Though some of their time is spent in the lab, most of it is spent outdoors. They often need to hike or climb to sites, and may even camp at the sites. They either study objects far underground, such as the interior of volcanoes, or closer to the surface. Their field work includes a lot of puzzle solving, using logic and reason to fill in the gaps in the gathered hard data.

Many geochemists are employed by oil companies. When working with these companies, a geochemist's primary duty is to find the greatest amount of oil with the least amount of damage to the environment. These geochemists are also sometimes called petroleum geologists.

Still others are employed as government employees or in private sectors. The Environmental Protection Agency, particularly, hires geochemists to help develop green technology and combat current threats to the environment. Other private organizations interested in green technology also routinely hire geochemists. Additionally, a geochemist may teach at the university level or conduct research for science organizations.

Depending on the job, geochemists might draw more heavily on their geology background or on their chemistry background. For example, some geochemists analyze abandoned mines to predict the environmental impact of these mines and advise in the safest clean-up efforts. Though they use their geology expertise, these geochemists rely more on their chemistry background to determine this type of environmental effect.

A geochemist usually has strong skills in organic and inorganic chemistry as well as geology. They generally also have backgrounds such diverse subjects as math, geography, and even English. Often geochemists will have a Bachelor's degree in geology, with a chemistry minor, but their Bachelor's can be in a variety of math or science fields. They will normally have advanced degrees in geochemistry, and those that teach will usually have PhDs.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon347592 — On Sep 08, 2013

What are the advantages to becoming a geochemist?

By indigomoth — On Sep 24, 2012

@umbra21 - People have to do what makes them happy. I know I'd never be happy working in a geochemist job, particularly if it was for an oil company. I had a friend who was studying geology and geochemistry and he essentially changed subjects because he didn't think there was any way he could escape working for an oil company and he hated the idea.

By umbra21 — On Sep 24, 2012

@bythewell - I did actually hear on the news recently that they've started trying to encourage kids to go into science and mathematics rather than into the arts. It's unfortunate that the sciences don't seem to have the mystery and magic around them that they used to. I think kids associate geochemistry with boring homework and their music and English classes with being a pop-star or a famous author.

And it's too bad because the world would be better off if more people understood basic science. That way, when geochemists tell them that they have tested ice cores and their findings are that we really need to stop polluting everywhere, people would be more inclined to listen.

By bythewell — On Sep 24, 2012

Even though there's a lot of money in the oil industry, I think it's going to start being more about soil science in the future. Whether or not you believe that oil is going to become scarcer and more difficult to find in the next few decades, most people do realize that there is a huge motion to start using cleaner fuels.

At the same time the population is still going up and we need to find ways of feeding all these people. There are huge tracts of land that have become useless because they have been mismanaged and I think that people who have the understanding of soil to start to rehabilitate those lands are going to end up being able to name their price in the future.

I think that applied geochemistry is going to become one of the more exciting fields to be in soon and I wish I was free to go and study it myself.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.