Using geophysical data to improve subsurface characterisation of fault structure


   School of Environmental Sciences

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  Dr Emma Michie, Dr S De Angelis, Dr D Macdonald, Prof Quentin Fisher  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Utilising outcrops to provide details on fault structure generally only provides a 2D view at a particular locality, either in section or map view. However, extrapolating complexities with depth comes with difficulties and usually relies on models. For this project, we will use near surface geophysical methods, specifically ground penetrating radar, to image the subsurface along fault strike. This will not only help to model fault structure in 3D but will also provide information regarding water saturation surrounding the fault zone.

Faults on Malta play a part on controlling some aquifer bounds. However, understanding the cause of the fault control remains uncertainty. This is primarily due to the lack of knowledge we currently have on carbonate fault seal. While this topic has received attention recently, there remains significant knowledge gaps. Particularly when marls occur within the sequence. 

This project will focus on the marly interbed within the sequence, and what this may mean for fault structure and fault seal. We will use field data collection, consisting of detailed structural maps of several faults across Malta and Gozo, measurements of blue clay smearing within the fault zone, and use geophysical measurements of fault structure and water behaviour around the fault zones. 

The results will be fed into a sister project, focussing on the hydrogeological modelling of Malta, paying close attention to fault behaviour. Results from this project will improve our knowledge of marl influence on fault structure and sealing potential, not only benefiting groundwater management for the Maltese Islands but can also be used for groundwater systems elsewhere in similar lithologies. Further, results are applicable for CO2 storage sites that contain marl interbeds.

We are looking for a PhD student to start ASAP.

Your Qualifications:

A minimum of 2:1 BSc in a geological degree, preferably geophysics.

Background knowledge / experience preferable in: geophysics, structural geology, fault analysis, carbonate petrography.

A strong numerical background is encouraged.

Strong fieldwork experience essential.

Please contact Dr Emma Michie for further information: 


Geology (18)

Funding Notes

This project is funded through the Energy and Water Agency, Malta, with further funding through the School of Environmental Sciences.

Where will I study?

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