University of Derby
About the Project
This 3 year fully funded PhD project aims to link crustal structures to plate tectonic motions using geophysical, numerical/computational, and plate kinematic modelling methods, which will enable a better understanding of Earth’s plate tectonic evolution, the development of microcontinents, and associated natural resource distributions.
Working alongside a motivated team of active early career Earth and Computer Science researchers, the PhD student will be supported in the design of novel research approaches, development of a multi-disciplinary skill set and broad personal network, and production of high-quality research outputs (e.g. scientific journal articles).
This project aims to enable a better understanding of Earth’s plate tectonic evolution, the development of microcontinents, and associated natural resource distributions by linking crustal structures to plate tectonic motions. Plate tectonics globally drives the formation of natural resources, however, 1) we do not understand the role of the lithosphere in controlling plate tectonic motions and so cannot determine the evolution of plate tectonics throughout Earth’s history. 2) We do not have a complete understanding of plate tectonic mechanisms leading to microcontinent development, and so 3) are unable to predict microcontinent distributions, resulting in overlooked resources key to the green energy revolution (e.g. high offshore geothermal gradients, potential Carbon Capture and Storage sites).
To address these issues, this project will use geophysical, numerical/computational, and tectonic modelling methods to analyse the global relationships between crustal structure and plate tectonic motions. Firstly, we will undertake 2D and 3D modelling of oceanic fracture zone structure using geophysical or machine learning approaches to interpret global compilations of unstructured free-air gravity anomaly data and understand the role of the lithosphere in controlling plate tectonic motions. Second, we will use GPlates to model plate boundary configuration changes during plate tectonic reorganisations and better understand the evolution of plate tectonic processes on our planet and microcontinent development. Finally, we will use plate tectonic models, 3D crustal thickness inversions, and seismic reflection data, to predict microcontinent distributions and their associated resources. Furthermore, findings will be published in high-quality journals allowing all academics to better understand Earth’s evolution and industry improvements in resource exploration techniques.
To apply for this job please visit www.findaphd.com.