Two MSc (research) projects in Marine Geophysics at the University of Auckland

We are seeking two enthusiastic MSc (research) students with a strong background in geophysics, ocean acoustics, or similar fields, for

  • Acoustic Characterization of Gases in the Seafloor and the Ocean, and
  • Thermal Modelling of CO2 and Natural-Gas Phase Transitions on the Chatham Rise.

The projects are supported over one year. Funding includes a stipend of NZ$16,000 per year and domestic tuition fees. Applicants should send CVs, transcripts, and the e-mail addresses of one referee to Ingo Pecher (

Domestic tuition fees generally apply to New Zealand and Australian citizens and permanent residents only. For international students, a fee top-up would need to be provided from other sources. To qualify for admission as MSc (research) students, candidates generally need to hold a post-graduate degree such as an MSc (taught) or BSc (hons). For further questions, please contact Ingo Pecher.

Screening of applications will start immediately and continue until filled.

Acoustic Characterization of Gases in the Seafloor and the Ocean - University of Auckland and NIWA, New Zealand

We are seeking one, potentially two, MSc (research) students to conduct acoustic characterization of the seafloor and the water-column with the aim of analysing sub-seafloor gas sources, migration paths, and/or bubble streams released into the water column at seep sites.

The student(s) will be part of a research programme awarded to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment. It is planned to develop the methodology for multi-frequency acoustic characterization of gas in water with a focus on constraining gas composition based on the frequency response of bubble streams. The programme is a collaboration between scientists at NIWA, the University of Auckland, Callaghan Innovation, the University of Tasmania, and the University of New Hampshire.

As part of this research programme, the MSc student(s) will investigate the linkages of gas bubble streams to seafloor and sub-seafloor features and interpret the origin of these gases. The project(s) will include an analysis of existing data from a pilot survey in the Bay of Plenty and/or data from various surveys of cold seeps along New Zealand's East Coast. In the hydrothermally active Bay of Plenty, CO2 and methane gas streams have been identified and ground-truthed whereas bubble streams along the East Coast may be related to biogenic methane and abundant gas hydrates. More information can be found at Auckland's Marine Geosciences Blog.

Applicants with an interest in quantitative acoustic or seismic data analysis, ideally including some geoscience training, are encouraged to apply. The student will be part of the University of Auckland's and NIWA's Joint Graduate School in Coastal and Marine Science. For further information, please contact Ingo Pecher.

Thermal Modelling of CO2 and Natural-Gas Phase Transitions on the Chatham Rise - University of Auckland, New Zealand

We are seeking an MSc (research) student to constrain the depth and evolution of phase transitions of CO2 and natural gas beneath the Chatham Rise east of New Zealand's South Island.

Various geophysical, geochemical, and paleoceanographic data suggest CO2 has been released periodically through seafloor pockmarks into the ocean on the Chatham Rise during glacial-stage lowstands. This CO2 is thought to originate from limestones atop the subducted Hikurangi Plateau. This hypothesis forms the basis of a collaborative research campaign by the University of Southern California, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, GNS Science, NIWA, GEOMAR, and the University of Auckland, aiming at scientific drilling by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).

The MSc student will focus on modelling the thermal evolution of the sub-seafloor over time and predicting the depth of phase boundaries between free gas, liquid and hydrate, assuming a range of possible gas compositions. Results will be compared to seismic data in order to investigate possible evidence in seismic records of such phase transitions. The student will closely collaborate with a PhD student conducting an analysis of newly acquired seismic and acoustic data. More information can be found at Auckland's Marine Geosciences Blog.

The ideal candidate has a strong quantitative background for performing thermal modelling and phase boundary calculations. The student will collaborate with the team behind our IODP initiative. For further information, please contact Ingo Pecher.

posted: 29 June 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.