This project aims to use state-of-the-art numerical simulation to study the formation mechanisms of
deep karstified fault zones in a carbonate reservoir located at the Tarim Basin in China. This deeply
buried reservoir (>5 km depth) is featured with unevenly distributed, “bead-like” cave structures of
variable sizes, as a result of corrosion processes during paleo-hydrological cycles. These dissolution
cavities connected by fractures/faults constitute the major space for hydrocarbon storage. The strong
heterogeneity over multiple length scales in the subsurface creates great challenges to the petroleum
exploration and production. The key task of this PhD project is to develop/apply a coupled hydrochemical
model to simulate the karst initiation and evolution over geological timescales, and
validate/calibrate the numerical model based on field data such as seismic tomography, well tests and
production history. The important factors controlling the distribution of oil/gas storage and reservoir
performance will be further explored to facilitate oil exploitation/production.
The successful candidate must hold a Master degree in Earth Sciences, Groundwater Hydrology,
Petroleum Engineering or related fields and be strongly interested in academic research. Knowledge and
experience in subsurface fluid flow, reactive transport and numerical modelling are of prime importance.
Demonstrated interests in karst formation are desired. Desirable aspects also include excellent English
communication and writing skills. This PhD position with an attractive stipend according to ETH
standards can be filled by the successful candidate in fall 2018 for a period of 3 years. The successful
candidate will work under the supervision of Dr. Qinghua Lei and Prof. Simon Löw in the Department of
Earth Sciences at ETH Zürich, with frequent interactions with other staff of the Department.
The Department of Earth Sciences of ETH Zurich has been consecutively ranked #1 for four years in the
QS World University Rankings, Earth & Marine Sciences. The Chair of Engineering Geology consists of
approximately 25 multidisciplinary scientists involved in a leading research and teaching program in
quantitative engineering geology and hydrogeology. Detailed information about the Department of Earth
Sciences and the Chair of Engineering Geology is available on the website:
We look forward to receiving your online application including a cover letter, a curriculum vitae which
describes your complete personal details and career history, complete course grades and transcripts,
digital copies of both Bachelor and Master theses, and one representative publication (if applicable).
Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal.
Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.
For further information regarding the advertised position, please contact Dr. Qinghua Lei at
email@example.com (no applicantions), Engineering Geology, ETH Zürich.