David Griffith (Geologist)
From working on 3D modelling to exploring the deepest depths of an Australian gold mine.
David Griffiths’ job has taken him to gypsum mines all around the UK. We caught up with him to find out more about what his role as a geologist involves.
Could you sum up for our readers what you do on a typical day?
No two days are the same, but over the course of a week I can expect to spend time logging rock core, preparing samples for analysis, working on 3D modelling of geological structures or calculating reserves. I also organise and supervise drilling programmes and undertake inspection visits at one of our six mines and one quarry.
What would you say is the most enjoyable aspect of your role?
The best part is definitely getting out and about - visiting the drillers and taking a first look at the new core that’s been drilled to see what the team has found.
And what things pose the biggest challenge for a geologist at British Gypsum?
The biggest challenges are organising the drilling programmes, ensuring all statutory/safety requirements have been completed before commencing site work, negotiating access with the landowners and ensuring everyone is happy and gets a fair deal (including us).
When did you first realise that you wanted to become a geologist?
I studied geology at A-level and really enjoyed the varied nature of the subject. We had a field trip to geological sites every two weeks, which got me excited about the sector. As soon as I realised that it was a viable career option that involved a mix of outdoor and desk work, I was hooked. Since then, my job has taken me to some incredible places, including the deepest depths of a gold mine in Western Australia and gypsum mines/quarries all around the UK.
Can you put your finger on what you love about geology?
It’s fascinating. It’s something that can be appreciated wherever you are; whether it is out walking in the countryside or in towns and cities. Almost everything around us is made from raw materials that must be extracted from the ground at some point, so the process that leads to the formation of these materials is what interests me most. As the saying goes: “if It’s not grown it must be mined.”
What makes a good geologist?
A good geologist is someone who asks questions and is genuinely interested in understanding how different deposits form. Someone who has an eye for detail but is prepared to interpret and extrapolate based on their knowledge and experience.
What advice do you have for people about to embark on a career as a geologist?
Work hard – learn from colleagues and lecturers by asking questions and keep up-to-date with continued professional development (CPD) with the goal of gaining chartered membership with the Geological Society. Most importantly, take every opportunity to get outside and see geology for yourself. The best locations to see it at its best include the coast or at a quarry where fresh rock faces are constantly being exposed.