Postdoc in mafic crustal growth

The Section for Geology at the University of Copenhagen, invites applicants for a postdoc in ‘The chromite record of mafic crustal growth’. The project is part of the research project “ChroMCrust”, which is financed by the European Union’s ERC starting grant.

The position is for two years and is open from 1 May 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Research Description

Understanding Earth's crustal growth is crucial to understanding the evolution of its tectonics, the birth of the first continents, and the fundamental changes that transformed Earth into a habitable planet. However, our current understanding of crustal growth is heavily biased towards felsic compositions, despite the continents being intermediate on average. This bias becomes increasingly problematic earlier in Earth history, when the continents were likely more mafic than they are today.

During this postdoc project, you will attempt to address this bias by developing methods for using detrital chromite in fuchsitic quartzite to detect the composition and age of eroded or otherwise destroyed mafic crust, which can be combined with detrital zircon techniques to provide a more complete picture of crustal growth. The project includes development of LA-ICP-MS techniques for analysing trace elements in chromite, and application of these methods to tracing chromite provenance in Archaean detrital sediments. You will have the opportunity to collect samples from the Superior Craton, Canada, and work in conjunction with a PhD student to reconstruct the first combined mafic-felsic crustal growth curve for an Archaean craton. The expected focus is on addressing felsic crustal growth using laser ablation split stream (LASS) U-Pb-Hf analyses on zircon. However, there is flexibility to make the research your own based on your expertise.

Our group and research- and what do we offer?

You will work as part of the Geochemistry and Mineral Resources group. Our research focusses on using the geochemistry, mineralogy and petrology of rocks to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth’s crust, mantle, atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere. The group is a part of Section for Geology, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, located in Copenhagen. Our research facilities include instruments for conduting a wide range of in-situ and high precision geochemical analyses (EPMA, LA-ICP-MS, XRD, TIMS, micro-XRF).

Further information on the Department is available at Inquiries about the position can be made to Assistant Professor Pedro Waterton,

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for motivated and curious candidates within the fields of geology and geochemistry, with a strong analytical background and an interest in Archaean geology or continental growth. The following skills and experiences are required:

  • Experience collecting and analysing geochemical data, in particular trace element and/or isotopic data using LA-ICP-MS
    • Experience in LA-ICP-MS method development is desirable
  • A rigorous understanding of data quality and developing robust methods to ensure precise and accurate data
  • Strong scientific writing skills
  • Fieldwork experience or an interest in working and collecting samples outdoors
  • Ability to work well both independently and as part of a team
  • Strong initiative and desire to shape your own research project

Research will be conducted in English, so a good command of both written and spoken English is essential. To be eligible, you must have completed a PhD degree, related to geology and geochemistry and obtained before 1st May 2024.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Please include

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Diplomas (Master and PhD degree or equivalent). If you do not yet have your final PhD certificate, please include a signed letter of completion from your PhD school or Department.
  • Research plan – description of current and future research plans, and how you can see this project tying in to your area of expertise
  • Complete publication list
  • Separate reprints of up to 3 particularly relevant papers. If you do not yet have a published paper, then well-formatted accepted papers, articles in preparation, or PhD thesis chapters can be used instead
  • 1-3 References and any available reference letters

The deadline for applications is 31 January 2024, 23:59 GMT +1.

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee.

You can read about the recruitment process at

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

posted: 04 January 2024     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.