A PhD scholarship is available in the Geodynamics & Geofluids Research Group of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. The four-year project (2009-2012) is funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders, and is a collaboration between the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Manuel Sintubin) and the Geology Division at the Universiteit Gent (Timothy N. Debacker). The position is available from August 2009 onwards.

Sedimentation and deformation in a wrench tectonic setting. The Lower Palaeozoic Plougastel Formation: the key to a better understanding of Variscan geodynamics in Central Armorica (Brittany, France)

In many deformed, low-grade middle- to upper-crustal terrains, rocks commonly bear the evidence of an often complex pre-lithification history. Besides a plethora of sedimentary structures, the sedimentary record may contain structures that result from synsedimentary to early diagenetic, pre-lithification deformation. Once lithified and affected by tectonometamorphic events, recognising the early ‘soft-sediment’ deformation structures may become evermore difficult, even to the point that such structures end up being erroneously interpreted as part of a sequential fabric that results from multiple tectonometamorphic events.
The Lower Palaeozoic metasediments of the Plougastel Formation in Central Armorica, exposed in western Brittany (France), are an ideal case to deal with this research question, because these siliciclastic rocks are exposed in different tectonic settings, affected by different degrees of deformation at different structural levels.
The current project will use the Plougastel Formation as a tool to (1) identify particular pre-lithification structures, (2) define criteria to distinguish ‘soft sediment’ deformation features, (3) reconstruct the pre-lithification history, and (4) assess correctly the Variscan deformation in middle- to upper-crustal levels in Central Armorica. To achieve the postulated goals three tracks of research will be pursued: (1) a field-based sedimentological and structural analysis in different target areas in western Brittany (France); (2) laboratory-based analysis of the diagenetic and metamorphic deformation conditions (e.g. petrographical microscopy, cathodoluminescence microscopy; X-ray diffraction); and (3) analysis of rock magnetic properties to further refine the applicability of magnetic fabrics in geological research.



A more extensive description of the project can be found on

For more information about the position and application, please contact Manuel Sintubin ([log in to unmask]) or Timothy Debacker ([log in to unmask]).




Manuel Sintubin, PhD FGS
Professor of Geodynamics
Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Celestijnenlaan 200E - box 2410
BE-3001 Leuven
Phone: +32 (0)16 32 64 47 - +32 (0)16 32 78 00
Fax: +32 (0)16 32 29 80
Mobile phone: +32 (0)496 50 25 79
E-mail: [log in to unmask]

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