Modelling the sedimentology, and stratigraphic architecture of submarine channel margin systems

Supervisors: Hodgson, D.M.1, Kane, I.A.2, Flint, S.S.2, Peakall, J.1

1 Stratigraphy Group, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds LS29JT, UK
2 Stratigraphy Group, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

Submarine channels are the conduits for large volumes of sediment shed from the continental shelf and down the slope to deep-water basins. Channels are dominated by sediment bypass and erosion. However, their marginal environments are commonly sites of deposition. Consequently, the sediments deposited in these environments, typified by thin-bedded turbidites, offer a more complete record of submarine channel system evolution than channel axes. These depositional environments, including channel margins, levees and terrace deposits. This project seeks to establish recognition criteria for the identification of thin-bedded depositional environments in a range of submarine slope settings, across systems of different ages and tectonic settings.

The study will include fieldwork in the Karoo Basin (South Africa) and the Peninsular Ranges forearc basin of Baja California (Mexico), and logging core data sets from the Ainsa turbidite system (Spain), IODP, and modern systems. Techniques include field mapping, sedimentological logging, building photogrammetric models, and compiling digital databases. There is scope to develop physical experiments, informed by field data, of flow interaction with topography adjacent to the channels. The margins of submarine channels are also important in terms of stratigraphic trapping of fluids within the channel-fill. To better understand stratigraphic trap potential, 3D petrophysical models will be constructed to understand the likelihood of fluid leakage or seal in these depositional environments, based on careful observations made in the field. Furthermore, the datasets will permit machine learning techniques to be developed in order to help discriminate different sedimentary environments using calibrated core and well logs. The resulting datasets can be applied to subsurface analogues in order to help refine interpretations on depositional environments.

This studentship is focused on a topic of international importance and will form part of the Slope5 project, which is an industry-funded research programme. We expect you to submit manuscripts to international scientific journals during the course of the studentship, and to present the results of your research at relevant UK and International conferences. The project will provide excellent training in fieldwork, process sedimentology, physical modelling, artificial intelligence in the geosciences, and the development of digital geological models. You will join one of the largest groups in the world working on earth surface processes and sedimentary basins, having access to excellent facilities and the support of supervisors with leading expertise in deep-marine sedimentary processes and systems.

Application deadline is 13th September, and interviews will be held on 10th October in Edale, UK. For more information please contact Prof David Hodgson (; +44 1133430236) and complete the online application form indicating the project title and primary supervisor at:

posted: 02 August 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.