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Quantifying the sedimentation of ignimbrites: understanding the behaviour of pyroclastic density currents through experimental modelling

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Williams
  • 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

To celebrate the University's research successes, the University of Hull is offering one full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship or International Fees Bursary for candidates applying for the following project

Closing date: - 29th February 2016.
Studentships will start on 26th September 2016
Supervisors: Dr Rebecca Williams > < 01482465578) < Catastrophic Flows Research Cluster, Department of Geography Environment and Earth Sciences
Dr Pete Rowley (University of Portsmouth), Prof Dan Parsons (Hull)

Pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) are flows of hot gas, ash, pumice and rocks that form during volcanic eruptions. These gravity driven currents transport thousands of km3 of debris and historically, have caused ~100,000 deaths. To mitigate the hazard, understanding the behaviour of PDCs through time and space is essential. However, our understanding of density currents is hampered by the lack of any instrumentation that can document the processes and conditions within them. Of all the flows on Earth, PDCs are both the most hazardous and the flows that we know the least about. This project will produce a step-change in our understanding of the emplacement of ignimbrites and the behaviour of the PDCs that formed them. This is of critical and urgent need for hazard management, as new paradigms for PDC emplacement are challenging existing theory, practice and policy.

The principal objective of this project is to test the fundamental conceptual model upon which modern pyroclastic sedimentology is based. PDCs are known to be aerated, have high pore pressures and are highly mobile, but existing models do not take this into account. Therefore when predicting where these currents may flow, based on existing models, the results are likely to be inconsistent and uncertain. This project uses novel laboratory modelling techniques to, for the first time, simulate sustained, polymict, aerated currents over complex 2D and 3D topographies to investigate flow and deposition, and to compare the deposits created to outstanding real world examples. Fundamental understanding of the current processes which form different deposit features (e.g. bedforms) will be quantified for the first time allowing evidence-based interpretation of PDC deposits.
The successful applicant will take an active role in developing the new PDC flume facility in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Portsmouth. You will have the opportunity to work alongside an international group of experts in the field of density current modelling. As part of the Hull research team, you will participate in training and networking activities. The project is part of the Catastrophic Flows Research Cluster within the department of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences. >

To apply for this post please click on the Apply button below.

In order to qualify for this scholarship you will require an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.1, or equivalent in a relevant subject.
Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£14,057 in 2015/16) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.

PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 30th April 2016 at the latest.

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