Tuesday, 28 June 2016

PhD opportunity: Holocene palaeoseismicity and sea-level change in Chile

The Department of Geography, Northumbria University, seeks to appoint a PhD student to work on Holocene sea-level change and palaeoseismicity in Chile. Funding is available to UK and international students. The closing date is 20th January 2017. Read on for more details about the position.  

This project seeks to understand both abrupt and long-term relative sea-level (RSL) change in Chile. Historical and instrumental records provide evidence for multiple great earthquakes along the Chilean megathrust, causing abrupt RSL changes. Palaeoseismic research has advanced significantly in south-central Chile since the 2010 earthquake, but there are still relatively few quantitative reconstructions of deformation for historic earthquakes, and further south records of earthquake occurrence are discontinuous. Such records are essential for providing long-term perspectives on the recurrence, magnitude and variability of earthquakes. This project will focus on geological evidence of late Holocene earthquakes, including stratigraphic evidence preserved in tidal marshes and peat bogs. The aim is to develop detailed chronologies of earthquake recurrence and quantify deformation using microfossil techniques. 

The candidate may also choose to focus on the long-term RSL history of Chile, on which there is a paucity of data. Where data do exist there is discrepancy between observations and models. Glacial isostatic adjustment models suggest RSL has been falling along the Pacific coast of South America since the mid-Holocene, but there are field observations to suggest sea-level rise over the last millennium. Further data are necessary to constrain these models and to try to better understand the drivers of Holocene RSL change, which include great earthquakes, ongoing tectonic deformation, isostatic response since the last glacial maximum, neoglacial forebulge migration and collapse, and global eustasy. We have identified sites for sea-level reconstruction that will potentially provide key constraints on models, on the timing and magnitude of the mid-Holocene highstand, as well as directing where evidence for historic great earthquakes may be preserved. 

There is flexibility to focus on either the sea-level or palaeoearthquake history. The project will involve fieldwork to Chile; you will be given training in field, laboratory, microfossil (diatoms), dating (radiocarbon and/or OSL), and analytical techniques. 

Please note eligibility requirement: 
 • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement. 
 • Appropriate IELTS score, if required. 

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see 

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form. 
 Deadline for applications: 20 January 2017 
 Start Date: 2 October 2017 

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