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PhD position:
Did the Pamir slab form by intracontinental subduction or lithospheric delamination? Clues from the deformation and thermal history

We are seeking a highly motivated individual for a doctoral project focussing on structural geology and thermochronology in an active mountain belt.


This project focuses on constraining the onset and magnitude of deformation in the North Pamir and the Western Kunlun Shan using structural geology and thermochronology. The goal is to test two competing hypotheses for the origin of the south-dipping seismic zone with prominent intermediate-depth earthquakes beneath the northern Pamir: Has this feature formed as a result of intracontinental subduction or lower crustal and lithospheric mantle delamination? The two models make different predictions about the spatial and temporal pattern of deformation and hence exhumation. The project results will constrain the onset and magnitude of deformation in the North Pamir and the Western Kunlun Shan in China, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and thereby identify the more plausible model.

The first field season will be in summer 2017; therefore, the successful candidate will begin the project in May or June.

Location and funding:

The PhD position is hosted by the Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Universität Potsdam in Germany ( via funding from a German Research Foundation (DFG) Grant under the supervision of Prof. Edward Sobel and Prof. Jonas Kley (Department of Structural Geology and Geodynamics, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen). Both institutions are highly ranked globally and offer a dynamic and stimulating research environment with all laboratory and analytical facilities necessary for the success of the research project in place.

The PhD project has salary support for 3 years. The German PhD salary corresponds to a part-time (75%) appointment with a fixed-term employment contract for 3 years. Contracts are limited according to the Academic Fixed-Term Contract Law (WissZeitVG). The salary scale is TV-L E13. Funding is available for fieldwork, analyses, and attendance at international and national conferences during the course of the PhD.


Applicants must have a 4 year BSc (Hons) or MSc, or equivalent qualifications in the Earth sciences. We prefer candidates with demonstrated proficiency and experience in structural geology and who are comfortable with undertaking fieldwork in remote areas. Experience with GIS, thermochronology or geochronology would be helpful. Strong English language skills are a prerequisite; German, Chinese and / or Russian language skills would be useful. Applicants with disabilities will be given preference in case of equal suitability. Both institutions strive to increase the proportion of women in research and specifically encourage females to apply for these positions. International students are encouraged to apply.


Your application will include a cover letter including a brief description of your research interests, a CV including publication list (if applicable), a record of academic degrees, including a transcript of records, and contact details for 2 referees. All documents should be combined into one PDF file and sent by email to Prof. Edward Sobel ( The deadline for applications is January 20, 2017. Questions from potential candidates are welcome at the above email address and at

posted: 20 May 2016     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.