PhD Project in mafic crustal growth

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 30 Nov 2023

The Section for Geology at the University of Copenhagen, invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in ‘A complete view of crustal growth in the Superior Craton: tracing missing mafic crust’. The project is part of the research project “ChroMCrust”, which is financed by the European Union’s ERC starting grant.

Start date is (expected to be) 1 May 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project
Understanding Earth's crustal growth is crucial to understanding the evolution of its tectonics, the birth of the first continents, and the fundamental changes that transformed Earth into a habitable planet. However, our current understanding of crustal growth is heavily biased towards felsic compositions, despite the continents being intermediate on average. This bias becomes increasingly problematic earlier in Earth history, when the continents were likely more mafic than they are today.

During this PhD project, you will address this bias and for the first time attempt to reconstruct a complete crustal growth curve for an Archaean continental nucleus, the Superior Craton. This work will focus on the recently developed use of detrital chromite grains in sedimentary rocks for detecting the age and composition of since-destroyed ancient mafic crust. You will collect your own samples during fieldwork in the Superior Craton, Canada, develop geochemical tools for tracing chromite provenance and ages, and combine these with existing methods to produce the first ever combined mafic-felsic crustal growth curve for an Archaean craton.

Our group and research- and what do we offer?
You will work as part of the Geochemistry and Mineral Resources group. Our research focusses on using the geochemistry, mineralogy and petrology of rocks to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth’s crust, mantle, atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere. The group is a part of Section for Geology, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, located in Copenhagen. Our research facilities include instruments for conduting a wide range of in-situ and high precision geochemical analyses (EPMA, LA-ICP-MS, XRD, TIMS, micro-XRF).

The supervisor isAssistant Professor Pedro Waterton, [email protected]

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for motivated and curious candidates within the fields of geology and geochemistry, with an interest in Archaean geology or continental growth. The following skills and experiences are desired:

  • Experience collecting and analysing geochemical data, for example using EPMA, ICP-MS, TIMS, or similar instruments
  • A good understanding of data quality in science
  • Fieldwork experience or a strong interest in working and collecting samples outdoors
  • Ability to work well both independently and as part of a team
  • Strong initiative and desire to shape your own research project

Research will be conducted in English, so a good command of both written and spoken English is essential. To be eligible, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree, related to geology and geochemistry.

Responsibilities and tasks

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision 
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

Terms of employment
Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Application and Assessment Procedure
Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover letter highlighting particularly relevant experience and describing your motivation for applying (max. one page)
  • Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills, any publications (if applicable), and other skills relevant for the position
  • One piece of scientific writing that you are particularly proud of, for example your Master’s thesis or a scientific paper for which you are the primary author
  • Original diplomas for Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  • 1-3 References and any available reference letters
  • Application deadline is 30 November 2023, 23:59 GMT +1.

    We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

    The further process
    After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You will be notified if you are selected for assessment.

    The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at .

    For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact Assistant Professor Pedro Waterton, [email protected]

    General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website: .

    The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 

    Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

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