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Heavy Mineral Stratigraphy and Provenance of Triassic Sediments in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea - PhD 2

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 controls on reservoir quality and distribution within the Triassic of the North Sea basins. Heavy mineral correlation and provenance analysis provide methodologies for developing a correlation framework within the Triassic succession that will allow differentiation of individual alluvial depositional systems and linkage between these systems and their catchments.

The aim of the PhD is to construct a heavy mineral based stratigraphic framework for Triassic strata and distinguish areas with different provenance based on heavy mineral types, morphologies and ratios together with mineral chemical data (rutile and garnet) and radiometric dating of detrital zircons. Heavy mineral suites will be collected from core areas in the Norwegian North Sea and integrated with previous studies from onshore UK and Norway to ascertain likely provenance areas. Previous studies have already identified key changes in heavy mineral ratios and morphologies at a number of horizons within the Triassic succession, thus allowing targeted sampling. Standard petrographical techniques will be utilised to look at provenance changes. Heavy mineral analysis has the potential to map out different catchment areas and potentially at a catchment scale for individual point-sourced fluvial systems and provide at least one if not more sub-regional to regional marker horizons. Once a robust framework has been established, this will be extended out of the core areas to provide a regional framework for the Triassic interval of the Norwegian North Sea and for comparison and calibration with biostratigraphic data.

The PhD forms part of the FORCE Triassic Research Project, an oil industry funded consortium at the University of Aberdeen. The PhD 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 heavy mineral analysis techniques, mineral geochemistry and radiometric dating. The student will join an existing group of over 50 PhD students in the Department of Geology & Geophysics which has a long track record in heavy mineral and geochemical analysis of detrital sediments.

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.

The other supervisor on this project will be Professor Andrew Morton.

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 of the collection and interpretation of sedimentological data, familiarity with manipulation and interpretation of subsurface datasets.


Formal applications can be completed online: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/pgap/login.php

• 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.

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