PhD candidate (m,f,d), for 3 years, full-time

We are looking for a PhD candidate on the research topic: Tectonic displacement transients and their relation to geophysical fluid loading. This research will take place under the supervision of Dr. Jonathan Bedford and is part of the ERC Starting Grant project, TectoVision, which begins in June 2022.

In earthquake research, tectonic accelerations (tectonic transients) in GNSS displacement time series are known to be important signals for understanding how major faults progress to failure. A current challenge is to retrieve these transient signals from the time series that also contain other signals. The most prominent of these other signals is the seasonal oscillation that is related to the quasi-periodic loading and unloading of the Earth's surface from atmospheric, hydrological, and oceanic forcing. In some cases, it has been suggested that this above-ground forcing has affected slip rates on faults, while in most cases it is treated as a noise that should be removed to leave behind the tectonic signals of interest.

Your tasks:

In this project, you will investigate both of these cases using large amounts of GNSS and Earth Systems data. Can Earth Systems data (satellite atmospheric, ocean altimetry, tide gauges, weather stations, etc) be used to predict seasonal oscillations in GNSS data? In tackling this question, you will build a machine learning based denoiser that treats the seasonal oscillations as noise for both daily and sub-daily sampled data. For investigating the role of fluid loading on occurrence of tectonic transients, you will utilise both statistical and numerical forward modelling approaches. Using statistical approaches, you will investigate to what extent variable tectonic and fluid loading boundary conditions are impacting upon tectonic accelerations. Using numerical modelling, you will test physical models of fault behaviour in reaction to variable boundary conditions. Opportunities and benefits: Your research project will be part of a larger project (TectoVision) therefore you will have plenty of interaction with other PhD candidates and collaborators related to this project. You will have the opportunity to become part of an upcoming generation of geophysical researchers with deep learning experience, gaining a skill that is in high demand both inside and outside of academia. Accordingly, you will have access to the necessary hardware (GPUs, clusters) for you to get your hands dirty with large datasets and powerful algorithms. There is also the option to do fieldwork in Greece (installing new GNSS stations). The position includes 2 international conference trips: 1 EGU and 1 AGU (funding for in-person attendance).

Your profile:

  • Some scientific programming experience (e.g. using one or more of Matlab/Octave, Python, Julia, R, or similar)
  • Time series analysis (experience working with such data or theory from classes)
  • Linear algebra (matrices, vectors, etc)
  • Some knowledge/experience of how machine learning works
  • Some knowledge about earthquake processes and tectonics

Additional information:

If the position is funded by third-party funds the employee has no teaching obligation.

Contact details for your application:
Prof. Rebecca Harrington, Phone: +49234 32 23297

Travel expenses for interviews cannot be refunded.

For information on the collection of personal data in the application process see:

We are looking forward to receiving your application with the specification ANR: 301 until 28.03.2022. Please send a CV, cover letter, and a maximum of 2 references via e-mail to the following address:

posted: 18 March 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.