Job Opening

Student opportunities in geophysics

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Posted: 06/14/2019

Open Until: 08/30/2019

The geophysics group at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand is seeking two MSc students to undertake research in seismology and fault mechanics, as well as further PhD students for various other projects. Funding received from the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society Te Apārangi will provide the successful MSc applicants with a $17,000 (NZD) stipend, and meet the cost of 12 months’ tuition. Students from countries other than New Zealand and Australia will need to meet the additional costs of international fees but are encouraged to inquire about other opportunities. Scholarships are available for prospective PhD students to provide stipend and fees for three years (email project contacts for more information). All projects can involve fieldwork throughout New Zealand. Available projects include:

1.MSc (funded) in estimating deep slip rates using repeating earthquakes:

12 months MSc part 2 (student must hold a BSc honours degree or equivalent) supervised by Dr. Calum Chamberlain, Prof. John Townend in collaboration with Dr. Amanda Thomas (University of Oregon, USA);
The student will use recently developed catalogues of repeating earthquakes to estimate slip-rates at depth on active faults throughout New Zealand, and look at how these vary in time and relations to large earthquakes and other transient deformation signals;
For more information email Dr. Calum Chamberlain: by 30th August to start January-March 2020.

2. MSc (funded) into source properties of moderate magnitude earthquakes along New Zealand's Alpine Fault:

12 months MSc part 2 (student must hold a BSc honours degree or equivalent) supervised by Dr. Emily Warren-Smith (GNS Science), Prof. John Townend in collaboration with A. Prof. Rachel Abercrombie (Boston University, USA);
The project will focus on analysing the source properties (stress drop, directivity, fault plane solutions) of moderate magnitude (M3—5.5) earthquakes occurring at key transitional segment boundaries on the Alpine Fault. These boundaries have been suggested to act as 'gates' during great (M7.8+) earthquakes – sometimes they let the rupture though, sometimes they don't. The analysis undertaken during this project will contribute to an improved understanding of the fault mechanics and heterogeneity at these segment boundaries, and how they act to influence large-scale rupture propagation. The analysis will focus on newly collected data from two dense broadband networks deployed in 2019, as well as existing temporary deployments along the Alpine Fault. Opportunities for fieldwork servicing Alpine seismic networks will be available.
For more information email Dr. Emily Warren-Smith: by 30th August to start January-March 2020.

3. PhD (unfunded: scholarships available) in Fiordland subduction zone initiation:

This project will utilise recently collected active source data alongside passive seismic data to image New Zealand’s southern subduction zone: the Fiordland/Puysegur subduction margin. The Puysegur subduction zone has the most frequent moderate-magnitude seismicity of any region in New Zealand, regularly produces earthquakes greater than M 7 and poses a significant tsunami threat to Southland, but is poorly understood mostly due to the remote nature of the surrounding region. Using our recently collected data the student will generate detailed images of the subduction zone, and study recently detected tremor signals in greater detail than previously possible.
For more information contact Prof. Rupert Sutherland: or Prof. Tim Stern:

4. PhD (unfunded: scholarships available) opportunity studying New Caldonia ophiolite emplacement:

The scientific problem of how ophiolites are emplaced, and a connection to large-scale subduction zone initiation remains a mystery. The international community is developing international onshore (ICDP) and offshore (IODP) drilling proposals to investigate this in New Caledonia. We are in the process of deploying an array of onshore broadband seismometers there, and we recently collected offshore seismic reflection and IODP data. We seek a geophysics PhD candidate to assist with fieldwork in New Caledonia and to analyse earthquake data, with a focus on understanding crustal structure of the ophiolite;
For more information contact Prof. Rupert Sutherland:


Photo: Seismometer installation along the Alpine Fault as part of the DWARFS (Dense Westland Arrays Researching Fault Segmentation, MSc opportunity 2) project.

Calum Chamberlain
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Seismology and Fault Mechanics

How to Apply

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