hydrology vs hydrogeology (explained with examples)

if you are interested to know the difference between hydrology and hydrogeology this article is for you. So keep reading to know what hydrologists study and what hydrogeologists do, and what is the difference between each of them.

The difference between hydrology and hydrogeology

The main difference between hydrology and hydrogeology is hydrology focus on studying the properties of surface water meaning lacks or river, while hydrogeologist focus underneath the earth studying all groundwater sources that relate to wells, holes, soils or any geology surfaces that human can accede directly.

 Hydrologists access directly water resources like lakes rivers and dams while hydrogeologists use a lot of knowledge to predict the water placement pretending for example where is the ideal position to find water to drill a well.

 But in both cases, hydrology and hydrogeologist have a big overlap in their curriculums and activities.

That being said they study a lot of similar sciences and share each other information to the complete awareness of the environment and know more information about the locations they study.

Because a lot of surface water resources are coming beneath the land surface wells.  That being said, the all water that moves through soil and rocks finally emerges to the surface. so for this reason we find a big overlap between these two major science

So in general hydrologists explain how the surface water is moving and behaving in multiple different environments.  While Hydrogeologist Focus to determine how water flows underneath the Earth meaning inside rocks soil and different geology layers.

In the next paragraph, we’re going to discover in detail the definitions of hydrology and hydrogeology each one alone to know more details about this subject.  And maybe guide you to choose the right major if you think to build your career around this to similar majors. 

what does a hydrogeologist do?

Hydrogeologists are a little bit different from hydrologists, they focus a lot on groundwater which is the water that we can’t access easily like undergrad water or wells water.

For example, a hydrogeologist is determine the specific ground spot that has weather has beneath so you can drill a well. So the hydrogeologist’s job is based a lot on predictions.

Hydrogeologists are so important for agriculture that they help them to find water to drill wells as we said before. But not only for that hydrogeologists can be working in many industries for instance with people who want to install services that highly consume water like washing car services.

Principal hydorgelogist taks

Now we’re going to list another group of tasks that hydrogeologists do:

1 – They can design and construct water wells as we mentioned before to supply water for different uses, including human consumption, irrigation systems like plants, and agricultures spots.

2 – They can also determine the water flow or capacity of a well or a specific spot can offer. For instance, predict the water or volume of well capacity. this is important for any business to know if investing in aweel will be profitable or not.

3 – Do some investigation to determine if there are some pollutant substances than can thereat the groundwater layer. This happens frequently around industrial zones.

4 – Desing groundwater maps to help also hydrologists to understand the geological location they might be studying in the future.

What does a hydrologist do?

As we said before hydrologist is the study of surface water distribution including monitoring all the data projects and  Phenomena that relate to water distribution.

For instance, studying the water cycle which is how the weather evaporates meaning and other hydrologic phenomena.

Principal hydrologist tasks

So we will discover the principal tasks that hydrologist does in his life day job.

1- hydrologists study the water quality, for instance, in different environments like lakes and rivers to check if there is pollution or some chemical substances that can risk the life of the population of animals.

 2 – Solve problems and water issues in local states and ensure equilibrium. Make organization and raise awareness about how the water should be managed as a primer need of life.

3 – Also hydrologists can conduct studies related to investigating natural disasters like inundations or desertification. They collaborate with biologists to study some related and common phenomena between biology and hydrology.

 4 – hydrologist also can analyze mythological data by trying to understand specific location characteristics like how much it rains in a specific sector and comparing the other hydrologic data sector.

5 – Hydrologists contribute also to preparing valuable geological maps that have been included as scientific guidance for future researchers and scientists. Which facilitates the investigation the full access of all data to a new economy scientist 

what hydrologist sudty

we’re going to give some examples of what hydrologists study and finally compare these subjects to the hydrogeologist career.

Subsurface Hydrology

  • Groundwater Flow
  • Contaminant Subsurface Hydrology
  • Surface and Groundwater Interactions
  • Groundwater Geology
  • Environmental Soil Physics
  • ecology

Hydrologic Chemistry

  • Nanotechnology in Water Research
  • Principles of Water Chemistry
  • Soil and Water Chemistry
  • Environmental Quality
  • Advanced Water Analysis
  • Environmental Biogeochemistry

what hydrogeologists study

this is an idea about the curricula subjects hydrogeologists study before getting into this occupation.

  • Physical and transport hydrogeology 
  • Chemical and microbial hydrogeology
  • Surface analysis of granular iron for groundwater remediation
  • Organics in groundwater
  • Numerical methods
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Geophysics
  • Ground-penetrating radar
  • Biological principles of environmental engineering
  • Introduction to soil geography
  • Intermediate geographical information systems (GIS)(spatial technic to analyze geographical spots)

hydrologist vs hydrogeologist difference in curriculum

hydrologists focuses more on subjects like Subsurface Hydrology and surface and Groundwater Interactions more. While hydrogeologists study and focus a lot on groundwater and soil water relations. These are the main reasons subjects differ in these majors.

In simple words, hydrogeologists focus more on geology, while hydrologists keep on the biological aspects of water. Rather than that, they have a lot of overlap in their college courses.

you could read this related article: Biology is less respected in the stem? (5 popular facts)


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.