Applicants for a PhD position (for 3 years)

We welcome applications by young and highly motivated scientists to contribute to the DFG funded project "Correlating continental flood basalt volcanism, environmental change, and mass extinction events at high resolution using novel geochemical proxies in sediments". The PhD candidate will be part of an internationally recognised working group in geochemistry, petrology and volcanology with access to excellent analytical facilities.

Project summary

Continental flood basalt volcanism is thought to have played a role in all five of the largest mass extinctions in Earth history. However, our understanding of how volcanism causes environmental change leading to mass extinction is hampered by difficulty determining the precise timing of these events, which occurred over 10 to 100 thousand-year timescales. Volatile trace elements which are enriched in volcanic gas, injected into the atmosphere during flood basalt volcanism, and later deposited in sediments can potentially link these processes at timescales of less than a few tens of thousands of years, beyond the resolution of radiometric dating. Previously, mercury (Hg) concentrations in sediments have been used as a proxy for past volcanism. This project will measure trace elements, including Hg but also other siderophile trace elements Te, Se, As, Tl and Bi in sediment profiles across the Permian - Triassic and Cretaceous - Paleogene boundaries, in order to link flood basalt volcanism in Siberia and in India (Deccan) respectively, with the record of environmental change and extinction preserved in the same sediments.

The applicant will be expected to publish research results in international peer-reviewed journals, and participate in national and international conferences. The project will involve fieldwork in various parts of Europe.

Essential qualifications

  • Master of Science in geosciences or a related field with a strong interest in geochemistry, volcanism, or environmental change
  • Good skills in spoken and written English

Desirable qualifications:

  • Some experience with analytical methods (training will be provided in quadrupole ICP- MS, atomic fluorescence spectrometry and multicollector mass spectrometry)
  • Experience with interpretation of geochemical data

Application procedure:

The University of Erlangen-Nürnberg intends to increase the number of women in research and teaching positions, and therefore strongly encourages female researchers to apply. Disabled applicants will be preferentially considered in case of equivalent qualification.

Applications including cover/motivation letter (2 pages), curriculum vitae, and contact information of two referees should be submitted by email in a single pdf file. Please note that applications submitted by postal delivery cannot be considered.

Application documents and inquiries about the position should be sent to Marcel Regelous (

  • Payment according to the German TV-L E13/2 scale
  • Expected start date: 15.01/2022 or soon thereafter
  • Fixed term for 3 years until 14/01/2025

Application deadline 05/11/2021.

For further information please contact:

Dr. Marcel Regelous,
GeoZentrum Nordbayern,
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg,
Schloßgarten 5
91054 Erlangen, Germany
Phone +49 (0)176 38602574,

posted: 22 September 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.