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Biostratigraphy and Palynology of Triassic Sediments, Norwegian North Sea - PhD 1

Department of Geology

About the Project

Triassic fluvial successions form important primary and secondary reservoirs in the Norwegian North Sea and contain significant future exploration potential. Extraction of hydrocarbons from these deposits is hampered by a lack of knowledge regarding correlation at basinal, sub-basinal and field scales. A robust correlation framework will provide an understanding of the controls on reservoir quality and distribution within the Triassic of the North Sea basins. Biostratigraphy provides a mechanism for developing a correlation framework within the Triassic succession and allied to detailed sedimentological and trace fossil analysis will allow climatic and palaeo-environmental reconstruction.

The aim of this fully funded PhD is to use palynological studies of Triassic strata to reconstruct paleoenenvironmental conditions and construct a biostratigraphically-based correlation framework across the Triassic of the Norwegian sectors of the Central and Northern North Sea extending an existing biostratigraphic correlation scheme for Triassic strata (Burgess et al. 2020) developed in the UK sector.

State of the art recovery techniques developed at the University of Aberdeen will be utilised in the biostratigraphic analysis. The student will focus on sampling the fine sand/silt facies and rooted horizons that have yielded as good a recovery as the more conventional mudstone horizon samples.

Cutting edge ecological and biofacies analysis will be utilised to allow environmental controls to be determined.

The PhD forms part of the FORCE Triassic Research Project, an oil industry funded project at the University of Aberdeen. The PhD project forms one of five projects and the successful applicant will work closely with the other students to integrate different datasets into a regional correlation framework. Work will include analysis of oil industry datasets, including wireline log analysis, sedimentology and sampling of core in the UK and Norway. Training will be provided in palynology and biostratigraphy. The successful candidate will join an existing group of over 50 PhD students in the Department of Geology & Geophysics.

This PhD study will provide an excellent opportunity for a student to gain expertise in a wide range of different techniques and transferrable skill sets that can be utilised in a future geoscience-based career.

Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit. The successful candidate should have (or expect to obtain) a UK Honours Degree (or equivalent) at 2.1 or above in Geology or related discipline.

Essential background and knowledge: Experience with the collection, interpretation and manipulation of subsurface datasets.


Formal applications can be completed online:

• Apply for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Geology
• State the name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

1. All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
2. 2 Academic Reference (on official headed paper and signed or emailed directly to us from referees official email address, quoting your applicant ID number)
3. Detailed CV
4. Evidence of English Proficiency (if first language not English)

The start date of the project is December 2020 or as soon as can be arranged. If a suitable candidate is found before the closing date the advert will be removed.

Funding Notes

Full support for fees and stipend is provided at UK Research Council rates monthly, in arrears.

Due to the funding criteria we cannot accept applications from International applicants.


Burgess et al 2020. Stratigraphical palynology of the Middle to Late Triassic successions of the Central North Sea. Petroleum Geoscience,

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