By Todd McNeill
Growing up I have always had a fascination about Earth and the planets in our solar system which resulted in many questions relating to their origins and the mechanisms which shaped them. For many of my teenage years, geographical, geological and space documentaries, aided by Google fuelled my desire to learn more about Earth and the planets that made up our solar system. However, I reached a point where my education became a bottleneck limiting me from understanding the greater complexities of planetary systems. As result this led me to pursue a degree and future career in physical geography (geomorphology).
Geomorphology aims to understand the relationship between landforms and the biological, chemical and physical mechanisms that currently and have historically shaped them. For me Summerfield (1991) best describes geomorphology as, ‘...the science concerned with the form of the landsurface and the processes which create it’.
The geomorphology disciplinehas been further extended into areas such as landscapes of planetary bodies within the solar system and also the study of submarine features (Summerfield, 1991).
Why pursue a degree and career in physical geography?
One of the many benefits of geomorphology is that the discipline’s philosophies are carried over many environments, whether that is aeolian, catchment, coastal, glacial or my personal favourite coral reef geomorphology. As a result, my current time studying geomorphology has allowed for me to adventure out and experience many of the magnificent landscapes the world has to offer, including fringing reefs of Middle Island, Tully Gorge and the Atherton Tablelands to name a few.
The science of geomorphology is also surrounded by many aspects from other allied disciplines, such as geochemistry, hydrology, and climatology to name a few. Pursuing a degree and career in physical geography will provide one with the critical thinking required to piece together the processes that have moulded the landscape in the past and continue to shape it today.
Studying physical geography also provides advancements in one’s technical skill set in areas such as interpreting satellite data through remote sensing, developing maps and models through geographic information systems (GIS) and plotting models and data using programming languages such as R.
Economic outlookLooking at a career in geomorphology from an economic point of view, according to Australian Governments Job Outlook, geomorphologists looking to work in the environmental science sectors are forecast to see strong job growth over the next 5 years. Other social professionals (geographers) are also forecast to see moderate future growth over the next 5 years.
ConclusionNow is a very exciting time to pursue a degree and career in geomorphology. Whether your interest is in a particular environmental setting or just a desire to better understand the landforms surrounding you,I am sure geomorphology will be a very rewarding career.
ReferenceDepartment of Jobs and Small Business 2019, Environmental Scientists, Australian Government, viewed 06 April 2019, https://joboutlook.gov.au/Occupation.aspx?search=alpha&code=2343
Department of Jobs and Small Business 2019, Social Professionals, Australian Government, viewed 06 April 2019, https://joboutlook.gov.au/Occupation.aspx?search=Career&code=2724
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Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young PSM, Governor of Queensland