Validating the turbidite paleoseismometer using the Kaikoura earthquake - PhD position

We are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated student to undertake a fully-funded PhD project investigating the veracity of turbidite paleoseismology using a unique opportunity provided by the 2016 Mw7.8 Kaikoura earthquake to determine whether synchronous turbidite deposition can be reconstructed from the sedimentary record. This PhD project is part of a Marsden funded project 'Testing the veracity of turbidite paleoseismology using the Kaikoura earthquake' that involves collaboration between Victoria University of Wellington, NIWA and University of Auckland.

To better understand earthquake reoccurrence and hazard, records of ancient earthquakes spanning millennia are routinely generated using seabed turbidite deposits. However, this turbidite approach to paleoseismology is underpinned by untested hypotheses due to the dearth of verified earthquake-triggered turbidite deposits produced by well-characterised earthquakes. The overarching aim of the PhD will use successive field campaigns on the RV Tangaroa to sample along and across the axis of submarine canyons that preserve turbidite deposits triggered by the Kaikoura earthquake. Detailed characterisation of the turbidites combined with numerical or analogue modelling of turbidity currents will be applied to test hypotheses that underpin turbidite paleoseismology.

Sediment coring from the RV Tangaroa offshore the
Kaikoura peninsular (photo: J. Mountjoy, NIWA)

We are looking for a candidate with a background in sedimentology, turbidity current dynamics or submarine geomorphology. The ideal candidate would have previous experience in physical sedimentology and numerical or analogue simulation of turbidity currents, although these skills are not essential. The candidate will be based at Victoria University of Wellington under the supervision of Dr Jamie Howarth. They will also work closely with Dr's Alan Orpin and Katie Maier of NIWA, and Dr Lorna Strachan from University of Auckland.

Candidates should submit to a complete CV (including academic transcripts) and a letter containing the following information - motivation for applying, research interests and experience, and the name and contact details of two or more academic referees. Applications received on or before 31st March 2020 will be considered. The successful applicant will be expected to take up the position no later than the 1st of September 2020.

posted: 12 March 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.