Computer-Oriented Geoscience Lab

PhD studentship at the University of Liverpool


Update (2021/05/20): This position is now closed.

Update (2021/11/01): India Uppal has joined the group under this project!

We have one open position for a fully funded 5-year PhD and graduate student assistant position at the University of Liverpool.

Applications are open until 21 April 2021.

Open to UK applicants only.

Apply here:

Project: Improving estimates of Antarctic geothermal heat flow from geophysical data

The flow of heat coming from the Earth’s interior is an important parameter for how ice sheets flow and deform. It also plays a key role in determining how the Earth’s crust rebounds upwards once ice mass is displaced, influencing our estimates of sea-level rise. Geophysicists can indirectly determine heat flow from the measurements of anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic field due to magnetized rocks in the crust. These data allow us to estimate the depth at which magnetic minerals lose their magnetic properties, which happens at a particular temperature known as the Curie temperature. However, there are still some unknown factors about the limitations of this technique.

The goals of this project are to:

  1. Quantify the effect of merging magnetic data from different surveys (needed for continental-scale studies) due to changes in the Earth’s magnetic field and crustal magnetization.
  2. Produce an integrated magnetic data compilation for Antarctica that is less dependent on the direction of the Earth’s field using state-of-the-art processing methods.
  3. Estimate the depth to the Curie isotherm in Antarctica using the newly generated magnetic data.

The magnetic data integration and Curie depth estimation will be done by adapting [methods][/publications/eql-gradient-boosted] and [software][/software] recently developed by the research group and our international collaborators at the PINGA lab (for example, Hidalgo-Gato et al., 2021, and Reis et al., 2020). By achieving these goals, we hope to quantify and reduce the uncertainty in the Curie isotherm depth estimates for Antarctica, which is a key parameter in determining geothermal heat flow in Antarctica.

The supervisory team

You will be working with an international team of researchers:

Why work with us

Through this PhD, you will acquire the mathematical and Python programming skills required to undertake the project. You will be trained to develop software in a collaborative environment using GitHub and the current best practices in research software engineering.

The project will be conducted following the current established norms of open-science and reproducible research, with all outputs published on the group’s GitHub page.

The project also has the potential to involve code contributions to the different open-source Python [software developed by the research group][/software], mainly Fatiando a Terra, leading to potential impact beyond standard scientific publications.

What we are looking for

This position would suit someone with skills in (or who is willing to learn):

  • Computer programming (any language)
  • Mathematics (linear algebra and calculus)
  • Numerical methods

An ideal candidate would also be motivated, able to self-study, and interested in open-science practices and open-source software.

The position

This position is for a Graduate Teaching Assistant at 0.5 full-time employment (FTE) over a 5 year period.

The role includes:

  • Supporting the programme of practical exercises in physical geography, geospatial data analysis (geographical information systems), earth surface processes and dynamics, and environmental sciences.
  • No less than 50% of your time for the pursuit of your PhD studies.

This project is one of eight eligible for funding support through the recruitment of two GTAs within Geography & Planning and Earth Sciences. The funding covers:

  • Tuition fees.
  • Research support budget £1000 per year.
  • University Teacher Salary (£29,177 - £33,797 / year at 0.5 FTE pro rata)

Applicants are encouraged to read the [lab manual][/manual] to familiarize themselves with the way we approach science, expectations, our code of conduct, etc.


Interested? Find out more about:

To apply for this opportunity:

  1. Apply for the PhD program (make sure that you mark “GTA SoES Post” in the funding section of the application form)
  2. Apply for the 0.5 FTE GTA position

You have to apply for both positions and make sure both are marked as “GTA SoES Post”.

If have any questions, please get in touch!

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