PhD position (4 years) or Postdoc position (3 years) on 'The Magnetic Signature of Temperature Anomalies in Faults'

Job description:

The Department of Earth Sciences currently seeks a highly-motivated, high-potential applicant for a PhD or Postdoc position to work within the research project The magnetic signature of temperature anomalies in faults ,that is a work package of the project Probing the micromechanics of small magnitude earthquake slip, awarded to Dr André Niemeijer at the Experimental Rock Deformation Laboratory. The position is part of the DeepNL programme, funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), which consists of eight projects and aims to investigate the physical mechanisms behind human-induced seismicity in the subsurface, e.g. in the gas reservoir in the province of Groningen (The Netherlands).

The current position aims to investigate the presence of temperature anomalies in natural and experimental faults by measuring the magnetic signature of rock samples. We will extend standing theory to constrain the naturally occurring frictional heat during major earthquakes using bulk samples to low magnitude events. Furthermore, we will assess the heat distribution as function of distance to the fault plane on a micrometer scale using a Quantum Diamond Magnetometry technique. Both techniques will be calibrated using laboratory-derived samples and then applied to outcrop samples obtained from faults in Permian sandstone in collaboration with Prof. Holdsworth of Durham University (UK).

The research team members include Project Leader Dr. A.R. Niemeijer (P.I. and Co-supervisor), Dr. M.J. Dekkers (Main Supervisor), Dr. L.V. de Groot (Co-supervisor) and Prof. Dr. C.J Spiers (Promotor) at the Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University (The Netherlands). The research will be performed at Utrecht University.

In case a PhD candidate is hired, he/she will be expected to assist in the teaching programmes of the Department of Earth Sciences for a limited amount of time (~10%).


The successful candidate should be ambitious and have a MSc (or equivalent, for a PhD position), or a PhD degree (or equivalent, for a Postdoc position) in Earth Sciences, Physics or Material Science. A background in either fault and fluid mechanics or fundamental rock magnetism and an interest in experimental deformation would be an advantage. A broad interest in Geosciences, and the willingness and capacity to interact in a multidisciplinary team, are essential. The candidate should be fluent in spoken and written English, since the host group is highly international in composition.

Terms of employment:

When a PhD researcher is hired, the candidate will be offered a position initially for one year. Depending on a satisfactory performance this may be extended to a maximum period of four years in total, with the intend that this results in a doctorate within this period. In case a Postdoctoral researcher is hired, the candidate will be offered a position initially for two years, with the possibility that this will be extended to a maximum period of three years in total.

Employment conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities. The gross monthly salary for a PhD position starts at €2,325 in the first year and increases to €2,972 in the fourth year. The gross monthly salary for a Postdoc depends on experience and starts at least at €3,123 (scale 10 of the Collective Labour Agreement). The salary is supplemented by a holiday allowance of 8% per year and a year-end bonus of 8.3%. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model).

Facilities for sports and child care are available on our main campus (where the Department of Earth Sciences is situated), which is located only 15 minutes away from the historical city centre of Utrecht.

About the organisation:

The Utrecht Faculty of Geosciences offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. With a population of 2600 students (BSc and MSc) and 600 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, Sustainable Development, and Human Geography & Spatial Planning.

The Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The department hosts a highly international group of more than 100 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers and houses a wide variety of world-class laboratories, among which are the Paleomagnetic Laboratory Fort Hoofddijk and the new solid Earth cluster Earth Simulation Laboratory that includes the Experimental Rock Deformation Lab. In addition, the department offers an extensive high-end computing infrastructure.

Additional information:

Informal enquiries may be sent to Dr. Mark Dekkers (, Dr. Lennart de Groot ( or Dr. André Niemeijer (

How to apply:

To apply, please follow this link and the guidelines mentioned there. Applications will be accepted until April 30, 2019. Evaluations and interviews are planned soon thereafter. The intended starting date is September 1, 2019, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Online screening may be part of the selection. Commercial response to this ad is not appreciated.

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posted: 13 March 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.