Welcome to the section of the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists' (AEG's) website especially for students. This section is designed to assist students exploring career and graduate school options in the geosciences, specifically engineering geology, environmental geology, and hydrogeology.
These exciting fields address our interaction with the natural world as briefly described below. Though the three fields address specific technical areas of the geosciences, the geologic concepts often overlap between fields. Practioners of engineering geology often encounter environmental problems and vice versa. For a more detailed explanation of each field, click on the titles of each section.
La Conchita landslide, California. Photo courtesy of USGS.
Engineering geology is the application of geologic principles to understand, prevent and mitigate geologic hazards. In other words, engineering geologists study the geologic aspects of a particular area, such as a pipeline route or hospital site, and address identified geologic hazards. Depending on where you live, it is possible that an engineering geologist has studied the soil and rock near your home and made recommendations concerning the construction of your school, the nearby mall, or even your home.
Maybe you live in a seismically active area, or near a beach experiencing coastal erosion. Perhaps you live in the Mid-West where expansive soil and rock results in foundation damage. As the geologic conditions change across the country, so do the problems they cause. A student studying engineering geology learns how soil and rock will behave in the event of an earthquake, flood, or landslide, etc. Find out more about what engineering geologists do here.
Environmental geologists apply the principals of geology, hydrology and geochemistry to clean up contaminants that have penetrated into the earth. Unfortunately, many of the products we use in our day-to-day lives often have been produced, stored or disposed in a way that has contaminated our soil and water supply, resulting in adverse impacts to humans and the environment. Remember the last time you refueled your car at the gas station? Where was the gasoline stored? It is most often stored in underground storage tanks which, if one leaks, the gasoline moves through the soil and enters the ground water.
A student studying environmental geology learns how ground water behaves, methods for identifying where the contamination has moved, and techniques used to clean up contaminated soil and ground water. Find out more about what environmental geologists do here.
Blue Spring in Shannon County, Missouri. Photo courtesy of Missouri DNR.
Hydrogeologists use there knowledge of geology and hydrology to identity and expand sources of irrigation and drinking water and to manage ground water that can get in the way of underground construction projects. Ground water often supplies irrigation water for farmland and drinking water for domestic water systems such as the one you use when you turn on a faucet in your home. A hydrogeologist understands how groundwater is replenished by rainfall and melting snow, how it flows underground through rock and soil, and how it emerges as springs to supply lakes and streams. Occasionally, hydrogeologists are hired to protect springs or wetlands from activities such as construction de-watering that could disrupt those features.
Although most commonly considered a "good thing to have", ground water can cause problems during construction of mines, tunnels, or, dams. Also, ground water can also play an important role in landslides
; thus, hydrogeologists often assist in the study and mitigation of these hazards
. Find out more about what hydrogeologists do here
Follow the links below to a variety of useful pages within AEG's website.
- About the Profession - Details about the profession of engineering geology, including a list of major activities in which engineering geologists participate and links to more detailed descriptions of the practice of engineering geology, environmental geology and Hydrogeology.
- Case Histories - Examples of projects involving engineering geology, environmental geology, and hydrogeology that illustrate some of the challenges faced by AEG's members.
Summer Field Camp - Geology field camp is an opportunity for students in the geosciences to study geology in the ultimate class room - the great outdoors! Camps are located in several venues throughout the country, and some are even located in other countries. These hands-on classes teach the critical skills of field observation and geologic mapping in the real world. Scholarships are available for qualifying students.
- Student Chapter Web Pages - Links to all the student chapters of AEG, including student chapter websites and contact email addresses. If the student chapter does not have a website, links to the sponsoring department are provided.
- Section/Chapter Web Pages - Links to all AEG sections in the United States and Canada. Find a section near you and attend a meeting! These chapter meetings are a great opportunity to make professional contacts that can help you with your career.
- Student Resources - Links to academic programs and universities, information on scholarships and grants, and AEG's student career center. You can maximize your opportunities for scholarships and employment by joining AEG
- Technical Resources - Links to technical committees and working groups within AEG. Technical resources include information on applied geology standards, dams, landslides, seismic safety, and hazardous waste management to name a few. Become an AEG member and get access to a variety of publications and online resources.
- Publications & References - Links to AEG publications, including AEG News and Environmental & Engineering Geoscience, along with several on-line publications and AEG's E-Store. Note that you must be an AEG member to access some of the publications.
- Meetings & Events - Links to the AEG calendar. The calendar includes dates for short courses, conferences, seminars, etc. pertaining to engineering geology, environmental geology, and hydrogeology. Locate a meeting or event near you and learn more about the profession. Also, check out the Annual Meeting page.