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Structural, stratigraphic and geodynamic controls on the evolution of the Carboniferous succession of northern England and southern Scotland

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S S Egan
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project description

The structural and geodynamic processes that have controlled the evolution of the Carboniferous basin system of northern England and southern Scotland, as well as interactions with the neighbouring North Sea, are very poorly understood. As a consequence, correlations of sedimentary fill, and sequence stratigraphical controls upon them, remain elusive.
The main aim of this project will be to apply and further develop 3D lithosphere-scale tectonic modelling techniques in order to determine the interplay of geological and geodynamic processes that have controlled the evolution of the Carboniferous succession within the Northumberland Trough, Solway Basin, Stainmore Trough, Vale of Eden Basin and Midland Valley, as well as their offshore extensions and intervening areas of relative uplift such as the Alston Block, which contain large granitic intrusions within the pre-Carboniferous basement.
The models will be constrained by regional-scale cross-sections constructed from the BGS database and the public domain, with selected profiles sequentially restored to provide a “snapshot” of structural and stratigraphical architecture during the Carboniferous Period. Further constraint will be provided by the wealth of subsurface mining-related sedimentary data, combined with the field acquisition of structural data.
The study will provide insights into the importance of deep processes, such as depth-dependent extension, and how they interact with basin-controlling processes, such as bathymetry and sedimentary infill, within intra-continental, ‘basin and block’ settings.
In particular, model results will provide insights into the development of accommodation space through time in response to sea level, tectonics and sediment supply, providing a structural and geodynamic framework for the sequence stratigraphical interpretation of the Carboniferous succession within this relatively poorly understood basin system.

CDT Research theme(s)
Extending the life of mature basins and Environmental Impact and Regulation
An increased understanding of 3D regional-scale geodynamic processes and the structural / stratigraphical relationships they can produce within the basin fill has far reaching implications for carbon dioxide sequestration and hydrocarbon exploration, the latter of which is of particular significance given recent renewed interest in the gas potential of the onshore Northumberland trough and its relationship to the neighbouring North Sea.
Research context
This project links to existing PhD projects that are underpinned by the expertise with the Basin Dynamics Research Group at Keele in basin/geodynamic modelling, sedimentology/sequence stratigraphy and structural geology. In addition, recent work at Keele University in collaboration with BGS has examined the large-scale geodynamic and structural evolution of the Alston Block and Northumberland Trough in 2D. This work provided, for the first time, well-constrained control on differential subsidence through time across the area, and represents a unique starting point on which the proposed project will build.
Career routes
Hydrocarbon exploration or academia, with specialisms in basin analysis and modelling, structural geology, sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy, and numerical and computer modelling of geological processes.
Training & Skills
As part of a CDT cohort, you will receive 20 weeks bespoke, residential training of broad relevance to the oil and gas industry: 10 weeks in Year 1 and 5 weeks each in Years 2 and 3. Instructors will be both from expert academics from across the CDT and also experienced oil and gas industry professionals.
You will be expected to present posters and talks at national and international conferences

Funding Notes

Funding support is provided as follows;
4 years’ funding for tuition fees and stipend.
Stipend at Research council rates (£14,057 per annum).
Research Training Support Grant.

NERC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT)
Available to UK citizens and to citizens of the EU who have been permanently in residence in the UK for a minimum of 3 years prior to taking up the studentship.

https://www.keele.ac.uk/bdrg/nerccdtoilgas/ - This project is one of four being offered for September 2016, of which two will be funded.


Qualifications, Experience and Skills Essential: 2:1 or better BSc in Geology/Geoscience subject with good grounding in sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy.

Fieldwork skills and reasonable aptitude with IT and numerical data analysis.

Related Subjects

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