Geological Oceanographer

Paint an accurate picture of what the ocean floor looks like.
picture of Geological Oceanographer

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$44,000 – $161,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Geological Oceanographers do?

There’s a wealth of knowledge that can be fished out of the ocean floor. It contains mountain ranges, deep valleys, and vast plains that provide clues about how the Earth was formed, and how it might change in the future. Geological Oceanographers study this landscape to learn its valuable secrets.

As a Geological Oceanographer, you use many different methods to conduct your studies. Sometimes, you aim sound waves at the ocean floor and measure how long they take to return to you. Other times, you set off underwater explosions and determine how long those reverberations take to hit a fixed point. These measurements allow Geological Oceanographers to spot hills and valleys deep under the water, which ultimately results in a map of the area.

Taking samples from the floor can also help you determine when certain underwater features originated. You take samples of soil from fixed points, return to your laboratory, and run tests to date each sample.

If you hit upon a new discovery, such as a hidden cavern or a site that is shifting rapidly, you write up your findings for publication in technical journals. Sometimes, you travel to conferences to present your research. At these conferences, you listen to the studies that other Geological Oceanographers are presenting, and this may help you develop new studies of your own.

These studies are expensive, and they don’t always provide you with a product you can sell. So when you aren’t conducting a study or discussing your results, you prepare grant paperwork. Each grant application can take hours to fill out, but it is time well spent if you’re able to fund your next expedition quickly.


Should I be a Geological Oceanographer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Oceanographer, Geological

    How to become a Geological Oceanographer

    Most Geological Oceanographers have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aba9ta&chl=|certificate+%281%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2857%25%29|master%27s+%2842%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,57
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