Anyone who has ever driven through a tunnel or been inside of a mine must realize that the hole in the mountain or rock that allows cars and trains or miners to pass through did not create itself. Actually an extensive amount of planning goes into designing a pattern of explosive blasts that clear rocks or other solid formations so that land can be used hollowed or explored.
The days of an unskilled miner throwing a stick of dynamite into a hole in the ground are long gone. Today a modern blaster is an engineer that figures out the best way to explode or blast a solid piece of rock to get it out of the way to make room for development or mining. The process involves a designed pattern of spacing boreholes and pre-known fragmentation results.
The most important aspect of a blasters job is to engineer a blast that will explode a solid rock in the most desirable way possible. Extremely high knowledge of the types of rocks that are to be blasted as well as familiarity with the geology of the location where the blast will occur is essential for the blaster. A blaster gains knowledge of his or her profession by a combination of classroom education on the job training an apprenticeship andor years of experience.
A four-year college degree is not mandatory for this profession but there are undergraduate and graduate degree programs available. The primary goal of a blaster is not just making sure that the rock being blasted fragments properly but making sure that safety standards are upheld and nobody working in the vicinity gets hurt. Blasters must also keep excellent records of their blasts so that knowledge can be gained from the blasts and future blasts can be more effective.
A blaster who is also often called an Explosives Engineer can expect to earn a salary of about $40000 per year.