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Cambridge NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships

Graduate Research Opportunities

Research in the departments of Earth Sciences and Geography, DAMTP and at BAS includes work on mineral physics, sedimentary and earth surface processes, geophysics, tectonics including earthquake hazards, mantle and core processes, volcanism and volcanic hazards.


This project will provide improved constraints on the association of rapid outpourings of enormous volumes of lava in Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) and dramatic increases in the concentrations of atmospheric volatiles.
Machine learning and state-of-the-art microscopy provide exceptional opportunities to advance our study of magma chamber processes.
Determine the impact that the smallest animals have had on sedimentary environments through time by investigating links between their burrowing activity and sediment physical and chemical properties.
Investigating what controls how the Earth’s continents deform and evolve, using observations and models of earthquakes and mountain ranges.
Many questions remain about large-scale processes in the mantle. The boundary between the upper and lower mantle, defined by a sharp jump in seismic velocity due to a mineral phase transition, is of keen interest, as it plays a role in impeding mantle convection. The nature and topography of the boundary looks different to various seismic phases. An integrated imaging approach is needed to understand what characteristics of the boundary is causing this.
The Cambrian explosion was a crucial interval in the history of Earth: this project seeks to understand how ocean chemistry and physical seascapes co-evolved and interacted with life during the earliest days of a complex marine biosphere.
Sedimentary strata do not provide a complete or continuous record of geological time, with implications for any studies that seek to utilise signatures within them: this project will assess where time is lost on entry into the geological record with the use of modern active sedimentary environments which witness sediment accrual on timescales of seconds through to centuries.
The project addresses the challenge of assessing the hazard from volcanoes that have not been studied.
Lithium resources are an important part of the transition to green energy - how does lithium behave in volcanic systems?
Establish new methods to visualise and manipulate monitoring and hazard data in 3D.
Establishing a global assessment of volcanoes with potential for causing major air traffic disruption, to input into a risk index for airports.
Earth’s ancient continental ‘roots’ act as an important sink for volatiles but the origin and effects of CO2, H2O, S and F on its oxidation state and hence long-term stability are controversial.
This project uses fragments of crystal mush brought up by erupted lavas to decode processes happening during solidification deep under the volcano.
Materials scientists control grain shapes to create a material with the properties they want: we reverse-engineer the problem and use their insights to work out how rock microstructures get to be the way they are.
The project aims to make significant progress in understanding the YTT eruption and the nature and extent of its impacts via detailed investigations of the tephra record. It will begin with new multidisciplinary laboratory investigations of available samples from terrestrial, marine and lacustrine records, aimed at elucidating details of the eruption characteristics and plume dispersal and identifying, if present, proxy evidence for abrupt environmental change associated with the eruption. Particular attention will be paid to disentangling effects related to environmental disturbance caused by tephra fallout and those due to climate forcing by volcanic aerosol. We anticipate new fieldwork at sites in India where high-resolution stratigraphic sequences have been found. A parallel strand will consider modelling hydrological and ecological disturbances caused by large-scale tephra blankets.
Use sedimentology and facies characterization to explain why certain late Ediacaran palaeoenvironments in the UK and Newfoundland are seemingly devoid of early animal fossils.
Forensic petrology to understand depth and timing of magma storage and eruption
We will develop observational and computational techniques to provide new constraints on the timescales of subvolcanic processes
What role does sedimentary cycling play in the large-scale chemical evolution of the crust?
The goal of this project is to use advanced earthquake detection and location techniques to track the migration of melt through the Icelandic crust, which has important implications for hazard assessment and crustal evolution.
New broadband seismic data from Borneo and Sulawesi (Indonesia) will be used to help characterize the earthquake hazard potential of the region; this includes crustal imaging, locating earthquakes and determining their focal mechanisms, with a focus on delineating active faults.
A project to develop novel mathematical models of rock rheology, to better understand the migration of melt through the Earth's mantle.
This project will develop new models for transient creep in the seismic cycle based on high-temperature deformation experiments and microstructural observations.
This project will use a unique coastal transect across the mid- to lower-crust of the Grenville Orogen (eastern Canada) to establish what controls the metamorphic and tectonic evolution of mountain belts, by combining fieldwork, petrography, geochronology, and metamorphic and thermal modelling.
An imaginative and exciting project that combined igneous rocks from all over globe with mantle dynamics.
An innovative and exciting project which will explore the relationship between long-term climate and mantle convection.
What could be of more fundamental importance than understanding how mantle dynamics affects the Earth's surface through space and time!
Rather amazingly, seismic reflection profiling can be used to image circulation of the oceans: a whole new subject has opened up!
The way in which mantle convective processes sculpt landscapes is a new and exciting topic that links a range of Earth Sciences techniques.
A new approach to understanding the roles that plate tectonics and recycling of surface material into the mantle have played in the chemical evolution of the Earth’s mantle.
Using crystal scale isotopic variations in Icelandic eruptions and ophiolites to understand upper mantle heterogeneity and melt transport processes
Unravelling the protoliths and processes involved in forming the Earth’s early continental crust using novel stable isotopes
Social distancing between sand dunes: is this randomized or governed by strict physical laws?