TACHRIFT PROJECT: Sedimentary architecture of turbidite channel-levée complexes from the Tachrift turbidite system of the Taza-Guercif Basin (Upper Miocene, NE Morocco)

The Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Milan (working closely with the Turbidites Research Group (TRG) - University of Leeds and Polydisciplinary Faculty of Taza) currently seeks a highly motivated, high-potential applicant for a 24-month Post-doctoral position (Type B Fellowship) to work within the research project "Sedimentary architecture of turbidite channel-levee complexes from the Tachrift turbidite system of the Taza-Guercif Basin (Upper Miocene, NE Morocco)".

The research project focuses on the study of internal architecture of and facies distribution of nine superimposed channel-levée complexes belonging to the Tachrift turbidite system (Tortonian- Early Messinian) of the Taza-Guercif Basin (Rifian Corridor, NE Morocco), exceptionally well-exposed to the east of the Zobzit river (Felletti et al. 2020). Arid climate and deep incision by ephemeral streams make for a world-class extensive outcrop, almost devoid of cover over ca. 16 km2, which provides insights into 3D geometry and facies heterogeneity of both channel-fill and coeval levées. Separated each from another by hemipelagic marls, the Tachrift channel-levée complexes exhibit individual thickness in the range 3-15 m, totalling a thickness of ca. 600 m. The results of this study will add to understanding of how similar turbidite channel belts develop from inception to maturity, and can aid prediction of the resultant depositional architecture at a sub-seismic scale.


The financial support will cover the cost of a 24-month Post-Doc. The Fellow will fulfil the following activities on the expected schedule:

  • Reconstruction of internal architecture of and facies distribution of channel-levée complexes. This goal will be achieved through the measurement and physical correlation of detailed and closely spaced (5-50 metres) sedimentary logs across both the sand-prone channel fills and the coeval levees of selected well-exposed channel-levée complexes.
  • Preparation of interpreted 2D cross-sectional profiles of the investigated channel-levée complexes enabling tracking of vertical and lateral changes of sedimentary architecture
  • Statistical analysis of facies distribution and comparison with subsurface analogues.
  • Building 3D Digital Outcrop Models of selected outcrop using data acquired from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, i.e., drones), laser scanning, etc.
  • Determination of the seismic expression of channel-levée outcrops via forward seismic models of outcrop analogues.
  • Preparation of manuscripts to be submitted to peer-reviewed international journals indexed by Scopus.
  • Presentation of results at international conferences and to the TRG sponsors.


July-Aug 2021: organization of the research plan; analysis of the existing literature on turbidite channel-levée complexes and on Taza-Guercif basin; planning of the following field activity;
Sept 2021 - Mar 2022: first field work period, data collection in the Taza-Guercif basin;
Apr 2022 - Sept 2022: data analysis and development of outputs; preparation of manuscripts and presentation of results;
Oct 2022 - Mar 2023: second field work period, data collection in the Taza-Guercif basin;
Apr 2023 - Jun 2023: data analysis and development of outputs; preparation of manuscripts and presentation of results.


Candidates will be assessed on the basis of how well they satisfy these criteria:

  • A PhD in sedimentology related to deep-water clastic systems (PhD students who are completing their doctorate are admitted to the selection);
  • Field work experience;
  • A broad interest in deep-water sediments;
  • A demonstrated commitment to research and publications (publications, conference presentations, awards) and future scholarly output (working papers, research proposals, and ability to outline a research project);
  • The candidate should be proficient in English and have excellent scientific writing and presenting skills. Knowledge of the French and/or Arabic language would be useful;
  • Capacity to interact with the other team members.
The successful candidate will join a large and vibrant geoscience research group in University of Milan (IT), University of Leeds (TRG group; UK) and University of Fez (MA). Technical support is provided by a laboratory technician in Milan. The research will mainly be performed at University of Milan and in Morocco, but visits to the University of Leeds are included in the project planning, whilst participation in online meetings will permit dissemination of results.


You will be offered a full-time 24-month Post-Doc (Type B Fellowship), initially for one year with extension to a further year upon a successful assessment in the first year. The gross salary is €20.150 per year (roughly corresponding to a net salary of €1.500 per month)


If you are interested in applying, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation to fabrizio.felletti@unimi.it, A.McArthur@leeds.ac.uk and Hassan.tabyaoui@usmba.ac.ma

The selection procedure of candidates involves participation in a public competition of the University of Milan which will be held towards the end of May. Applications must be submitted by the end of April. For more information on how to register and participate in the competition, please contact fabrizio.felletti@unimi.it

Candidates living abroad can have an interview with electronic procedures that ensure them identification, with the authorization by Examination Committee.

posted: 04 March 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.