The project aims to understand the impact of subglacial geochemical processes on global chemical cycling and how these impacts will change in an increasingly deglaciating world. Past research has identified large chemical fluxes emerging at glacial terminii and in the subglacial environments of large ice bodies. However, questions remain regarding the degree to which the chemical activity beneath glaciers is driven by atmospheric CO2 drawdown or by oxidiation of sulfur and organic matter, which have opposing effects for global geochemical cycling. Contrasting the subglacial environment to deglaciated proglacial forelands is also a subject of interest.
Research will focus on glaciaciated volcanic islands, newly emerging lands which are hotspots of chemical weathering. Fieldwork is likely to be on Iceland and Jan Mayen. Water, sediment, and sediment-bearing ice will be collected from glaciers and ice caps at both sites. Analyses will focus on the chemistry and mineralogy of these samples, as relevant to determining the underlying chemical pathways active in the subglacial system. The doctoral student will have broad freedom to develop a plan for analysis including employing a range of stable or radioisotopes. Of particular interest are the isotopic constituients of dissoloved inorganic carbon, glacial ice, and newly formed minerals such as carbonates and clays.
The project will train the doctoral student in a wide range of field and analytical skills relating the geochemical analysis of rock, sediment, and water. It will be connected with ongoing research in Greenland and Antarctica led by supervisor Graly and will include collaborations with international colleagues. Upon completion, the student will be qualified to pursue an academic career employing chemical and isotopic methods to analyse earth system feedbacks or to pursue a range of industry or government positions (e.g. energy, environmental) that depend on the analysis of geochemical or mineralogical data.
This project will be supervised by Dr Joseph Graly. The second supervisor will be Dr Paul Mann.
Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/EE/GES/GRALY) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.
The studentship is available to Home/EU/ Worldwide students where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.
J.A. Graly, N.F. Humphrey, K. J. Licht, Two metrics describing the causes of seasonal and spatial changes in subglacial aqueous chemistry, Frontiers in Earth Science, 6: 195, 2018.
J.A. Graly, P.R. Bierman, L.B. Corbett, A. Lini,,T.A. Neumann: Meteoric 10Be as a tracer of subglacial processes and interglacial exposure in Greenland, Quaternary Science Reviews, 191: 118-131, 2018.
J.A. Graly, K.J. Licht, C.M. Kassab, B.W. Bird, M.R. Kaplan: Warm-based basal sediment entrainment and far-field Pleistocene origin evidenced in central Transantarctic blue ice through stable isotopes and internal structures, Journal of Glaciology, 64: 185-196, 2018.
J.A. Graly, J.I. Drever, N.F. Humphrey: Calculating the balance between atmospheric CO2 drawdown and organic carbon oxidation in subglacial hydrochemical systems, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 31: 709-727, 2017.
P.J. Mann, T.I. Eglinton, C.P. McIntyre, N. Zimov, A. Davydova, J.E. Vonk, R.M. Holmes, R.G.M. Spencer, Utilization of ancient permafrost carbon in headwaters of Arctic fluvial networks, Nature Communications, 6: 7856, 2015.