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PhD Studentship: PhD Geological Sciences - Exploring Seafloor Hydrothermal Systems with Novel High Resolution Mineral Mapping

University of Plymouth

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Devon, Plymouth
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: The studentship is supported for 3.5 years and includes a stipend from £18,622 per annum (2023-24 rate)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 30th October 2023
Closes: 10th January 2024

DoS: Dr Michelle Harris (michelle.harris@plymouth.ac.uk)

2nd Supervisor: Dr. Rebecca Greenberger, California Institute of Technology, Division of Earth and Planetary Sciences

3rd Supervisor: Professor Tony Morris (A.Morris@plymouth.ac.uk)

4th Supervisor: Dr. Andy Parsons (andy.parsons@plymouth.ac.uk)

Applications are invited for a 3.5 years PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 01 October 2024

Project Description

Scientific background:

Global geochemical cycles are fundamental to the Earth system; where, when, and how much elements are cycled through the Earth underpins a broad range of science, including our understanding of ocean chemistry and how the oceans will be impacted by future climate change. Geochemical fluxes from deep sea hydrothermal systems, where seawater circulates through the seafloor and exits back into oceans via hydrothermal vents, are a key component of global geochemical cycles. The ocean crust preserves this fluid/rock interaction (“hydrothermal alteration”) and by analysing these crustal rocks we can estimate the hydrothermal geochemical flux. However, such studies are limited by poor core recovery by scientific ocean drilling and the time-limitations of mineralogical and geochemical studies.

To advance our understanding of hydrothermal processes and geochemical budgets, we need higher resolution characterisation of the distribution and composition of hydrothermal alteration, and the controls on these, throughout the ocean crust. To achieve this, micro-imaging infrared spectroscopy datasets can be collected on recovered drill core, where mineral specific spectral fingerprints can identify the minerals present at sub-mm resolution. This novel project aims to redefine our hydrothermal budgets by using preserved hydrothermal alteration sampled by drill cores from the Oman Drilling Project and the International Ocean Discovery Program to calculate geologically robust estimates of hydrothermal fluxes.

Research methodology:

The individual will (1) use micro-imaging spectroscopy datasets to define a set of hydrothermal alteration types in the drill-cores and interpret their abundance and distribution; (2) use representative samples of the different alteration types to characterise the geochemical and textural variability, and (3) integrate the abundance of alteration types with their geochemical variability to calculate geologically robust geochemical fluxes.

Training:

The individual will develop a range of industry and academia relevant skills, with specialist training in micro-imaging spectroscopy and a range of analytical geochemistry (including XRF, ICP-MS and SEM/microprobe). The successful candidate will join an international team of researchers including the broader Oman Drilling Project Science team and the ocean drilling community.

Person specification:

This PhD is suitable for individuals with degrees in Geology/Earth Sciences with interests in petrology, geochemistry and big-picture Earth Science questions

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr. Michelle Harris, michelle.harris@plymouth.ac.uk.

Eligibility and Funding

For further information on Eligibility and Funding, please click on the links below:

To apply for this position please visit here.

Please clearly state the name of the studentship that you are applying for on the top of your personal statement.

Please see here for a list of supporting documents to upload with your application.

For more information on the admissions process generally, please visit our How to Apply for a Research Degree webpage or contact the Doctoral College.

The closing date for applications on 10th January 2024. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview after the deadline.

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