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PhD scholarships in Geophysics at Victoria

Employer: University of Wellington, New Zealand

Posted: 3 Feb 2012
Closing Date: 03/01/2012

PhD students are sought to work on several seismological and geophysical topics within the Institute of Geophysics, School of Geography, Environment, and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington (VUW).

1. Subduction zone structure - VUW geophysicists are involved in a large-scale collaborative study of the subduction zone structure under the Wellington region, North Island, New Zealand involving investigators from New Zealand, Japan and the United States. The aim of this project is to determine the material properties of the subduction thrust and other boundaries and thus determine the properties of a locked subduction zone. This project combines active onshore-offshore seismic recordings of explosions and airgun sources with passive (earthquake) recordings using short period and broadband recorders.

2. Fault zone structure in the region of the magnitude 7.1 Darfield and the Christchurch aftershock - we have a wealth of data from 15 broadband stations that recorded aftershocks of the Darfield earthquake. This PhD will be focused on comparing several methodologies to compare the fault zone to the region surrounding it, including using cross correlations of seismic noise to measure time-varying properties.

3. Deep Fault Drilling Project, Alpine Fault - several studies addressing the structure and evolution of the Alpine Fault in the South Island are underway, including analysis of data collected in shallow boreholes drilled into the fault in early 2011. Plans are now underway for deeper boreholes targeting the fault at 1.5 km depth, and students interested in working on the microstructural, seismological, or pressure-/temperature-monitoring data from the boreholes are encouraged to contact us.

4. Alpine Fault seismicity - we currently operate a 10 station network of seismographs spanning the central section of the Alpine Fault with the plan to locate and map hypocentres of events with magnitudes as small as zero. We are seeking a student to work on all aspects of the network and earthquakes, including newly discovered induced seismicity and non-volcanic tremor.

5. Structural studies using seismic noise - the use of seismic noise as a source of energy with which to study earth structure is a new technique that has been rapidly evolving in the last decade. This PhD will use several of the datasets discussed above to further develop the techniques and to determine the velocity structure in selected regions of New Zealand.

6. Seismological studies of geothermal areas. We are in the process of developing projects focussed on seismicity and structure around geothermal fields in New Zealand.

The next deadline for scholarship applications is 1 March 2012 and the application is free of charge: successful scholarship applicants from any country receive a NZ$23,500 stipend and all tuition fee payments.

Full details regarding the application process are available from the Faculty of Graduate Research at

All prospective applicants should contact Professor Martha Savage

martha [dot] savage [at] vuw [dot] ac [dot] nz


Associate Professor John Townend

john [dot] townend [at] vuw [dot] ac [dot] nz

at the earliest opportunity for further details regarding these projects.

Last Modified: 2015 May 14