PhD in Controls on Miocene sediment dispersal in the Roer Valley Graben in the southern Netherlands

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 01 Feb 2021

The Miocene of the Roer Valley Rift System and the surrounding areas consists of a laterally and vertically variable sequence of shallow marine, coastal and fluvial deposits. The sediment distribution within this coastal system was controlled by tectonic, climatic and (glacio)eustatic processes. As a result, the sedimentary deposits consist of a large number of sequences with bounding unconformities difficult to recognise on simple lithological grounds. Only a detailed reconstruction of the stratigraphic development and a better understanding of mineralogical and physical sediment properties will enable a correct correlation of both water-bearing, sandy units (aquifers), and sealing clay layers (aquitards) in an area that is compartmentalised by neotectonic faulting. This knowledge is relevant for applications in both hydrogeology and geothermal engineering (energy production, thermal energy storage).
The research will consist of the following elements:

  • Development of a tectono- and seismostratigraphic subdivision of the Miocene sequence, to enhance the understanding of spatial- and temporal accommodation changes on aquifer distribution
  • A source-to-sink assessment based on dating, provenance, and transport mechanisms, using sedimentary facies, grain size-shape analyses, and Sr-isotopes. This will provide insights into the distribution of hydrological and thermal properties and geothermal potential
  • Link accommodation effects with tectonic development of the Roer Valley Rift system and establish a multi-source infill model for the basin, taking into account the source-to-sink aspects
  • Synthesis
  • The work will be carried out partly (50%) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and partly (50%) at TNO-Geological Survey of the Netherlands (Utrecht). Both institutes will jointly supervise the research project.
    The advisory team is highly interdisciplinary and includes project leaders Prof. Dr. Ronald van Balen (promotor, VUA) and Dr. Johan ten Veen (co-promotor, TNO). The research will be performed at the Department of Earth Sciences (VUA) and the Geological Survey of the Netherlands (TNO).

    Your duties

    • write a PhD thesis consisting of peer-reviewed scientific papers
    • work with colleagues of the project consortium and contributing to project reporting
    • contribute to the bachelor and/or master Earth Sciences teaching programmes of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
    • follow a personalized training programme to strengthen skills and fill knowledge gaps. It will supplement and support the project-related research and help achieve long-term career objectives

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