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West Wales in the Silurian and its influence on the erosion of the present day coastal landscape

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Baas
    Dr S Jackson
    Dr K Van Landeghem
    Dr D Huws
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description


Wales’ location on a passive continental margin contrasts with the Silurian, 440 million years ago, when Wales was situated on an active plate boundary, similar to subduction zones in SE Asia today. This past landscape defines today’s geomorphology and daily life. Most of Silurian West Wales was below sea level and giant oceanic landslides formed deposits that are superbly preserved in present-day coastal cliffs. Novel technologies, i.e. drone photography and terrestrial laser scanning, now permit comprehensive studies of the geological history preserved in these cliffs, leading to: (a) better models for the spatio-temporal evolution of the basin the underwater landslides flowed through; and (b) coastal erosion hazard maps based on the spatial arrangement of Silurian rocks of contrasting hardness. Combining these cliff face studies with onshore and offshore geomorphological and geophysical studies will further aid palaeo-landscape reconstruction.


• Integrate onshore and offshore sedimentological, geomorphological, and geophysical methods to reconstruct key sedimentary processes and palaeo-landscape evolution in the Silurian, a present-day landscape-defining period in Welsh environmental history.
• Determine how the Silurian rocks shape present-day landscapes and coastal bathymetries in West Wales since the last ice age.
• Determine the erosion hazard of coastal cliffs using the spatial distribution of Silurian rocks of contrasting hardness.

What will you do?

• Sedimentary logging, drone photography, terrestrial laser scanning, and stratigraphic correlation to build improved models of 3D oceanic-landslide driven sedimentation patterns in Silurian Wales as analogue for other oceanic systems.
• Marine bathymetric, terrestrial topographic and subsurface data collection, using seismic and geo-electric profiling, multibeam echosounding, and Lidar, to aid the palaeo-environmental reconstruction of the ocean the landslides flowed through, and to determine the role of the Silurian rocks in the landscape evolution since the last ice age.
• Combine the above sedimentological and geomorphological data to produce coastal cliff erosion hazard maps.

What will you receive?

You will receive support and training from experts in earth and marine sciences. The School of Ocean Sciences at BU is internationally renowned for coastal and marine, geological, geographical, and environmental research, supported by its state-of-the-art marine infrastructure, including the 35-m long research vessel Prince Madog and a fleet of smaller boats.

For further details and to apply please contact Dr Jaco Baas in the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University [Email Address Removed]

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