[unav_all] PhD studentship in New Zealand volcano geodesy

Hickey, James J.Hickey at exeter.ac.uk
Wed Oct 26 07:17:23 MDT 2016

***PhD studentship opportunity in New Zealand geophysical volcanology***

"What drives volcanic unrest in New Zealand? Insights from volcano geodesy and numerical models for enhanced eruption forecasting"

Location: Cornwall, UK (University of Exeter, Penryn campus<http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/csm/>, i.e., near the beach)
Supervisor: Dr James Hickey<http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/csm/staff/jh877> (University of Exeter<http://www.exeter.ac.uk/>, UK)
Co-supervisors: Dr Nico Fournier<http://www.gns.cri.nz/who/staff/2363.html> (GNS<http://www.gns.cri.nz/Home/Our-Science/Natural-Hazards/Volcanoes>, New Zealand) & Dr Joachim Gottsmann<http://www.bristol.ac.uk/earthsciences/people/joachim-h-gottsmann/index.html> (University of Bristol<http://www.bristol.ac.uk/earthsciences/research/volcanology/>, UK)


Volcanic eruptions are some of the most spectacular natural phenomena on the planet, but pose a significant threat to over 10% of the world’s population. To enable eruption forecasting, carry out hazard assessments and mitigate risk, a thorough understanding of eruption precursors and volcanic unrest is essential. However, such knowledge is lacking for most volcanoes. This project will address this shortcoming with a particular focus on New Zealand’s volcanic activity.

New Zealand is one of the world’s most volcanically active countries, with over 12 volcanic centres and a high frequency of eruptions. In particular, it is home to the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ) which covers an area of more than 6000 square kilometres, contains numerous caldera and geothermal systems and has been actively deforming throughout the 21st century (Hamling et al., 2015<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015JB012125/full>). This project will take advantage of new thermomechanical (finite element) modelling techniques (Hickey et al., 2016<http://www.nature.com/articles/srep32691>) and combine them with ground and satellite based monitoring data in order to more accurately assess the state of the subsurface magmatic reservoirs feeding New Zealand’s volcanoes.

Numerical thermomechanical models have never before been applied to volcanoes in New Zealand despite the country having a substantial thermal signature from its rich volcanic history. This presents an excellent opportunity to investigate the role of thermal and mechanical processes on magma reservoir evolution, and how they influence spatial and temporal geophysical monitoring signals that may potentially serve as eruption precursors during periods of volcanic unrest. Such inferences can be used to parameterise the processes of magma supply, accumulation and migration, to facilitate eruption forecasting, hazard assessment and risk mitigation.

We are looking for quantitative students (geophysics, geology, physics, mathematics, engineering) interested in volcanology, natural hazards, risk reduction and Earth sciences. The successful student will be based on the Cornwall campus of the University of Exeter under the supervision of Dr Hickey, where he or she will further develop the modelling methods and have access to excellent computational geophysical facilities. The student will additionally benefit from significant involvement and exchange periods with GNS Science in New Zealand, where fieldwork and geophysical data processing skills will be developed under the supervision of Dr Fournier. Further collaboration will see the student visiting Dr Gottsmann at the University of Bristol to enhance their professional network and broaden their volcanological knowledge. This project will prepare the student for a variety of meaningful career paths, not limited to risk assessment and reinsurance, geodesy, geophysical exploration, academia, volcano monitoring, and consultancy.


Hamling, I., Hreinsdottir, S., & Fournier, N. (2015) The ups and downs of the TVZ: Geodetic observations of deformation around Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015JB012125/full>, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 120(6), 4667-4679.
Hickey, J., Gottsmann, J., Nakamichi, H., & Iguchi, M. (2016) Thermomechanical controls on magma supply and volcanic deformation: application to Aira caldera<http://www.nature.com/articles/srep32691>, Scientific Reports, 6, 32691.

More information: http://nercgw4plus.ac.uk/project/what-drives-volcanic-unrest-in-new-zealand/ and https://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=77869

Application/eligibility details: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/studying/funding/award/?id=2308 and http://nercgw4plus.ac.uk/phd-projects/2017-projects/

Deadline: January 6th, 2017

Please feel free to email me (James Hickey, j.hickey at exeter.ac.uk<mailto:j.hickey at exeter.ac.uk>) with any questions or queries.

Kind regards,


Dr. James Hickey

Lecturer in Geophysics

Camborne School of Mines
University of Exeter
Penryn Campus
Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK

Email: j.hickey at exeter.ac.uk<mailto:j.hickey at exeter.ac.uk>
Phone: +441326255988
Web: drjameshickey.co.uk<http://drjameshickey.co.uk>

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