School of Earth and Ocean Sciences

Research Associate in Structural Geology


The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Cardiff University is a dynamic and successful multi-disciplinary centre devoted to research in the disciplines of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

Applications are invited for a Research Associate (RA) position to study faults in the East African Rift, their geometry, and their relation to basement structures. This is one of 5 postdoctoral positions for the Global Challenges PREPARE project: Enhancing Preparedness for East African Countries through Seismic Resilience Engineering, based at the Universities of Bristol and Cardiff. Developing countries in East Africa are at high seismic risk because traditional masonry structures are unreinforced and seismically vulnerable and large earthquakes of M7.0 or greater can occur along the East African Rift. Conventionally, seismic hazard assessment is carried out using an instrumental earthquake catalogue alone, but in a region of slow strain, such as East Africa, the catalogue is short in duration in comparison with average recurrence periods of large faults (e.g. 50 years versus thousands of years). In developing countries, the lack of basic information is particularly acute. The critical knowledge gap in research and practice lies in: (1) accuracy of tectonic earthquake source models, from which seismic hazard maps and seismic design spectra are derived, and (2) seismic vulnerability of bespoke constructions in East Africa.

This position will focus on fault mapping, based on existing maps and new fieldwork in the southern East African Rift. Although geological maps exist for Malawi, these are at regional to national scale, and generally focus on lithological distribution. Thus, the RA will use existing geological and geophysical data to create a national fault map, and refine this map through new fieldwork. Detailed field mapping and sampling of fault zones will also address questions on the degree to which the current fault system is reactivating older faults, shear zones, and fabrics. This work involves modern techniques at a range of scales, including Structure from Motion and Scanning Electron Microscopy. Depending on time, the project may also involve other countries in the East African Rift.

In conjunction with other RAs mapping strain and seismicity, the fault mapping information will be used to redefine the tectonic earthquake source models for the region. There is flexibility between RA positions, and depending on workload and interest, the RA could also get involved in using high resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) from satellite data to map fault scarps in the region.

In addition to these duties, the RA will be expected to produce work of publishable quality for appropriate high quality peer reviewed journals, present papers at national and international meetings and contribute to the development of collaborative research grants. The successful applicant will hold a Ph.D. in a relevant subject.

This position is full time (35 hours per week). The post is available immediately but the starting date is flexible. This is a fixed-term appointment for 2 years.

Salary: 32,548 - 38,883 per annum (Grade 6)

For more information please visit

Closing date: Friday 29th September 2017

Informal enquiries may be made to Dr Ake Fagereng, email:

For further details about working in Cardiff University please contact Briony FitzGerald, email:

Please note that all applications must be made via the online system.

Please be aware that Cardiff University reserves the right to close this vacancy early should sufficient applications be received.

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds who have the ambition to create a University which seeks to fulfil our social, cultural and economic obligation to Cardiff, Wales, and the world. In supporting our employees to achieve a balance between their work and their personal lives, we will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share arrangements.

posted: 23 August 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.