Postgrad LIVE! Study Fairs

Birmingham | Edinburgh | Liverpool | Sheffield | Southampton | Bristol

University of Liverpool Featured PhD Programmes
University of Kent Featured PhD Programmes
University of Oxford Featured PhD Programmes
University of Kent Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes

Instability in peat: developing and undertaking new types of experiments to establish how peat fails in response to different types of external forcing

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Peat mass movements are relatively common geomorphological events in UK and Irish uplands. In recent years several significant peat landslides have been caused by engineering work, usually construction of access roads for onshore windfarm projects. However, various types of human disturbance of the peat mass has been identified in around half of all peat failures in Ireland. Previous research by Dykes has synthesised new data with earlier studies to identify distinct types of peat failures and the site factors that may control the occurrence of different types of failures, but the mechanisms of failure remain poorly understood.

This project aims to: (i) develop and undertake new types of experiments to establish how peat fails in response to different types of external forcing (e.g. extreme rainfall or artificial loading), and (ii) use this information with existing knowledge to develop a reliable industry protocol for assessing the risk of peat failure from engineering works. The project will involve detailed analyses of the geotechnical (strength, permeability, structure) properties of samples of peat obtained from the sites of past landslides in the north of England and possibly also Ireland as well as modelling analyses of real and hypothetical failure scenarios.

Applicants should ideally have an MSc in Engineering Geology or Applied Geomorphology or similar, otherwise it is essential to have an Engineering BSc or BEng with a substantial geotechnics or modelling component.

Funding Notes

There is no funding for this project: applications can only be accepted from self-funded candidates


Dykes AP, Kirk KJ (2006) Slope instability and mass movements in peat deposits. In Martini IP, Martínez Cortizas A, Chesworth W (Eds.), Peatlands: Evolution and Records of Environmental and Climate Changes. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 377-406.

Yang J, Dykes AP (2006) The liquid limit of peat and its application to the understanding of Irish blanket bog failures. Landslides, 3, 205-216.

Dykes AP, Warburton J (2007) Mass movements in peat: a formal classification scheme. Geomorphology, 86, 73-93.

Dykes AP (2008) Tensile strength of peat and its role in Irish blanket bog failures. Landslides, 5, 417-429.

Dykes AP (2008) Properties of peat relating to instability of blanket bogs. In Chen Z-Y, Zhang J, Li Z, Wu A, Ho K (Eds.), Landslides and Engineered Slopes (Vol. 1). Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Landslides and Engineered Slopes. Taylor and Francis, London, 339-345.

Dykes AP, Warburton J (2008) Failure of peat-covered hillslopes at Pollatomish, Co. Mayo, Ireland: analysis of topographic and geotechnical factors. Catena, 72, 129-145.

Dykes AP, Gunn J, Convery (née Kirk) KJ (2008) Landslides in blanket peat on Cuilcagh Mountain, Northern Ireland. Geomorphology, 102, 325-340.

Dykes AP, Selkirk-Bell JM (2010) Landslides in blanket peat on subantarctic islands: review, synthesis and global significance. Geomorphology, 124, 215-228.

Foteu Madio ES, Dykes AP, Waller MP, Hughes P, Grant MJ (2012) Botanical and geotechnical influences on peat instability. In Eberhardt E, Froese C, Turner AK, Leroueil S (Eds.), Landslides and Engineered Slopes: Protecting Society through Improved Understanding (Vol. 2). Proceedings of the 11th International and 2nd North American Symposium on Landslides and Engineered Slopes. CRC Press, London, 421-427.

How good is research at Kingston University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 14.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2018
All rights reserved.