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GEOPHYSICS  July 2018

GEOPHYSICS July 2018

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Subject:

2 postdoctoral research positions, Univ. Oxford (RIFT-O-MAT)

From:

Richard Katz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Richard Katz <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 30 Jul 2018 09:12:38 +0100

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Outstanding applicants are sought for two postdoctoral research associate positions that are part of the project: Magma-Assisted Tectonics — Two-phase Dynamics of Oceanic and Continental Rifts (RIFT-O-MAT), funded by the European Research Council from March 2019.  Please see below and contact me with any questions.

The positions:

Based at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, each position carries four years of salary with generous support for conference attendance and computing. The start date is negotiable: no sooner than 1 March 2019 but could be delayed by up to one year.

The project and roles:

There is widespread recognition of the central role of magma at divergent plate boundaries. In tectonic models, however, magmatism is treated as a by-product and is typically excluded from the dynamics. A thorough understanding of continental rifts and mid-ocean ridges requires consistent models of magma intrusion into the lithosphere and crust. The RIFT-O-MAT project will develop and analyse models in which magmatism is an integral thermal, chemical, and mechanical component.  Hence it will lead to a better understanding of the dynamics that underlies plate tectonics.  The postdocs will collaborate with the rest of the team to develop one simulation code that combines the canonical framework for two-phase dynamics of partially molten rocks [1] with an visco-elastic-plastic rheology appropriate for lithospheric deformation [2]. This will enable an internally consistent study of dikes, faults, and their interaction with ductile deformation.

Each postdoc will lead the application of the code to a distinct problem:

(PDRA 1) Continental rifting: the project will investigate the thermo-mechanical role of magmatism in continental rifting. In particular, it will address the question of if/when magmatism is essential for the initiation and completion of rifting. Idealised models will be developed to address each stage of the rifting process, from inception to break-up. The East African Rift system will be the primary geographic focus for validating models and interpreting observations.  Project partners Ian Bastow (Imperial College London) and David Ferguson (Leeds) will collaborate on the comparison with seismic, geodetic and petrological observations. For more information: https://tinyurl.com/rift-o-mat-continental

(PDRA 2) Mid-ocean ridges: the project will investigate the interaction of faults and dikes at mid-ocean ridges with two main objectives: the first is to re-examine the bathymetric profile of the ridge axis; the second is to re-examine the mechanics of abyssal hills.  This project will address the question of whether variations in sea-level and magma supply can influence the spacing of abyssal hills, following from a debate in the recent literature [e.g., 3,4].  Project partners Peter Huybers and Charles Langmuir (Harvard) and Suzanne Carbotte (LDEO) will collaborate on the comparison with marine geophysical observations. For more information: https://tinyurl.com/rift-o-mat-oceanic

Applicants:

Applicants should have a background in geodynamics, applied mathematics, fluid dynamics or physics.  Please see the Job Descriptions, linked above, for essential and desirable criteria.  Applicants who wish to be considered for BOTH positions must apply for BOTH positions separately (it is fine to use the same materials).

Other information:

The successful applicants will join the FoaLab research group at the University of Oxford http://foalab.earth.ox.ac.uk . Cohesion and collaboration within the group are encouraged by weekly group meetings, annual group retreats and shared office space.  The Department of Earth Sciences is housed in a new building, custom built in 2012.  The University of Oxford consistently ranks in the top five Universities in the world. From Oxford it is a one hour by bus to London Heathrow Airport.  Other information about the Department and University are provided in the Job Description documents (linked above).

References: 

[1] McKenzie (1984) The generation and compaction of partially molten rock. J Petrology.
[2] Keller et al. (2013). Numerical modelling of magma dynamics coupled to tectonic deformation of lithosphere and crust. Geophysical Journal International, http://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggt306
[3] Crowley et al. (2014). Glacial cycles drive variations in the production of oceanic crust. Science, http://doi.org/10.1126/science.1261508
[4] Olive et al. (2015). Sensitivity of seafloor bathymetry to climate-driven fluctuations in mid-ocean ridge magma supply. Science. http://doi.org/10.1126/science.aad0715






________________________________
Richard Foa Katz
Professor of Geodynamics
Dept Earth Sciences, Univ Oxford
http://foalab.earth.ox.ac.uk

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