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The early Palaeozoic evolution of Vietnam (CENTA2-SGGE18-HARV1)

Project Description

This project follows in the footsteps of the French Indochinese Geological Survey, who in the first decades of the 20th century discovered many new Palaeozoic fossils in northern Vietnam and southern China. Later, Vietnamese mapping geologists worked systematically through this region in the 1970s. These surveys and subsequent work identified a rich early Palaeozoic history for northern Vietnam that is geologically linked to southern China, both regions once forming part of the ancient South China palaeocontinent. Across the border in China, the discovery of exceptionally preserved fossils in the 1980s led to a renaissance in the study of the Palaeozoic rocks of Yunnan Province. In contrast, large regions of Vietnam have yet to be explored in detail.

This project focuses on the lower Palaeozoic rocks of NE Vietnam, which yield rich and newly identified assemblages of shelly and graptolitic faunas. You will use these assemblages in tandem with an understanding of the sedimentary and geotectonic setting to establish the first integrated stratigraphy of this region, working with Vietnamese geologists to map the regional distribution and lithofacies changes through the lower Palaeozoic. You will establish the position of major stratigraphical boundaries, including the Ordovician-Silurian boundary and its associated palaeoenvironmental events. Your work will develop a model for analysing the extensive and widespread Palaeozoic strata of northern and central Vietnam.

The project forms part of an ongoing collaboration between Vietnamese, Japanese and UK geologists, and would involve two seasons of fieldwork in northern Vietnam, collaboration with Vietnamese institutions in Hanoi, and a period of laboratory work at Kumamoto University in Japan. You will be become an expert on the lower Palaeozoic geology of SE Asia and have widely transferable skills in organising fieldwork in remote areas, relaying your science to the public, biostratigraphy, palaeontological analysis, geological mapping and problem solving.

Entry Requirements:

UK Bachelor Degree with at least 2:1 in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent.

Available for UK and EU applicants only.

Applicants must meet requirements for both academic qualifications and residential eligibility:

How to Apply:

Please follow refer to the How to Apply section at and use the Geography Apply button to submit your PhD application.

Upload your CENTA Studentship Form in the proposal section of the application form.

In the funding section of the application please indicate you wish to be considered for NERC CENTA Studentship.

Under the proposal section please provide the name of the supervisor and project title/project code you want to apply for.

Funding Notes

This project is one of a number of fully funded studentships available to the best UK and EU candidates available as part of the NERC DTP CENTA consortium.

For more details of the CENTA consortium please see the CENTA website: View Website.

Applicants must meet requirements for both academic qualifications and residential eligibility: View Website

The studentship includes a 3.5 year tuition fee waiver at UK/EU rates

An annual tax free stipend (For 2019/20 this is currently £15,009)

Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) of £8,000.


Saparin, A., Williams, M., Zalasiewicz, J. et al. (in press 2019). Graptolites from Silurian (Llandovery Series) sedimentary deposits attributed to a forearc setting, Co To Formation, Co To archipelago, northeast Vietnam. Paleontological Research.

Komatsu, T., et al. 2018. The Kellwasser events in the Upper Devonian Frasnian to Famennian transition in the Toc Tat Formation, northern Vietnam. Island Arc, doi: 10.1111/iar.12281

Rushton, A., Williams, M., Phong, N. et al. 2017. Early Ordovician (Tremadocian and Floian) graptolites from the Than Sa Formation, northeast Vietnam. Geological Magazine, doi:10.1017/S0016756817000310.

Wallis, S., Oji, T., Williams, M., Cho, M. 2019. The Palaeozoic evolution of the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Thematic set of papers for Island Arc.

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